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George Washington ..,,.. 7 

Thomas Jefferson . . „ „ . . -53 

James Madison . 89 

Abraham Lincoln . . . , . , .123 

General Grant . . . . . „ .159 



Nearly three hundred years ago, in the year 1607, a ship 
sailed from England laden with people who were to form a 
settlement upon the lands of the London Land Company. 
This ship was to anchor in Roanoke Sound, but was driven 
by a terrible storm northward into Chesapeake Bay. Sail- 
ing along; the southern shores of this magnificent body of 
water, they at length reached the mouth of a broad, beauti- 
ful river which in honor of their king they named the 
James. After sailing about fifty miles up this river, they 
came to a peninsula, whose green meadows and forest lay 
fair and peaceful in the spring sunshine. 

Weary with their long sea voyage, the emigrants gladly 
landed, and here, upon the banks of the James River, was 
established the first English settlement in North America. 

From England to this settlement, fifty years later, came 
John Washington, and purchased a large tract of land 
about seventy-five miles north of Jamestown, on the 
Potomac River, in the County of Westmoreland. This 
land remained in the Washington famil}*, and on February 
22nd, 1732, in the old house built bv John Washington, 
his great-grandson, George Washington, was born. He 


was the eldest child of Augustine and Mary Washington, 
though he had two half-brothers older than himself. These 
half-brothers were named Lawrence and Augustine and 
little George was very much attached to them. He also 
had three brothers and two sisters younger than himself. 

Not long after George was born, the old house was 
burned down, and never rebuilt. It was in a quiet, lonely 
neighborhood, and nothing remains to mark the spot where 
once it stood, except a stone slab lying upon a bed of 
bricks, remnants of the chimneys of the old house. The 
slab is broken and overgrown with weeds and brambles, 
but upon its rough surface can still be traced these words : 


The 11th of February 1732 (old style) 

George Washington 

was BORN. 

By the new style, which added eleven days to the old 
reckoning, the birthday became February 22nd, the day 
we now observe. When the old house burned, Augustine 
Washington removed his family to a place which he owned 
upon the Rappahannock River, opposite Fredericksburg. 
That house has been destroyed, but a picture of it remains 
and shows an old-fashioned Virginia farm-house, divided 
by a hall into four rooms, with great chimneys built outside 
the house at each end. 

George Washington. § 

Perhaps you would like to know something about the 
way people lived and what they did when George Wash- 
ington was a boy. When the people of that day spoke of 
Virginia, they meant that part of the State lying between 
Chesapeake Bay and the Blue Ridge Mountains. They 
did not know how far west or north the State extended. 

A few Irish and German families from Pennsylvania had 
settled along the rivers in the Shenandoah valle} r , but to 
the people living in the eastern part of the state, they 
seemed as far away as people of Colorado or Arizona 
would to-day. 

Beautiful rivers came from the Blue Ridge Mountains 
and found their way through fertile valleys to the sea. 
Chesapeake Bay, with the great rivers emptying into it, 
afforded many good harbors. Grand old forests extended 
on every side, and fish of all kinds swam in the waters. 
But with all her magnificent waterways, her valuable tim- 
ber, her extensive fishing-grounds, Virginia had no ship- 
building, no fisheries, no lumber-camps, no thriving 
industries and busy manufactories, no great cities, and 
but few villages. Each county had its county-seat where 
were built the court house, the jail, a hotel or inn, as 
it was then called, built for the entertainment of the people 
when court was in session ; and sometimes a church and 
country store. 
■ If you look on a map of Virginia today, you will see in 


many places the letters C. H. following a word, as Spott- 
sylvania C. H., Fairfax C. H., meaning that in that place 
stands the Court House of that County, and this is the 
only name given to the little village. Yet at that time 
Virginia had the greatest number of inhabitants and was 
the wealthiest British Colony in America. 

Now what were the people doing and how did they 
make their wealth? They were living upon large farms, 
or plantations, and raising tobacco ; for there was a greater 
demand for tobacco in England, and it brought more 
money than anything else the farmer could raise. 

Therefore every man raised all the tobacco he possibly 
could. Land was cheap, soil fertile, climate warm, and 
the tobacco plant itself a native of American soil. Thus 
it was the natural product of the State. 

So the farmers cleared large tracts of land, built zig-zag 
rail fences around them, and set out great fields of tobacco 

Now, it requires a great deal of labor to cultivate 
tobacco successfully. The ground must lie kept mellow 
and free from weeds, the imperfect leaves removed, and 
the tobacco worms destroyed. There were no Avheel cul- 
tivators and shovel plows such as we use now. A hoe in 
the hands of a man or boy was the only way of destroying 
weeds and loosening the soil, and with such implements it 
required a great many hands to cultivate a large planta- 


tiou. This need of workers caused the introduction of 
Slavery into the British Colonies. 

Augustine Washington had large plantations and many 
negro slaves to work them. So George was not obliged to 
split wood, drive cows to pasture, feed pigs and chickens, 
and hoe in the garden, as most farmers' sons must do. 
Still he was not an idle boy, for there are always a great 
many things for boys to do. 

It was a very pleasant place where he lived. There 
were beautiful trees and gardens around the house, and 
wide verandas upon each side of it. Not far from the 
house were the cabins for the negroes and the great 
tobacco sheds, where the tobacco was hung from poles to 
dry in the warm air and sunshine. Farther back were 
barns, granaries, and storehouses, for there were many 
people to be fed and nearly everything was raised on the 
farm. The only place where they could buy food, clothing, 
shoes or medicine, was in England, and it took a long 
time for sailing vessels to make the voyage there and 
back . 

Then there were the smoke-houses where bacon and 
dried beef were kept, and the spring-house, built over a 
running brook, where the milk, butter and eggs were 
kept in buckets standing in the clear, cold water. 

The kitchen was a small building separate from the 
house, and here the Aunt Chloes and Dinahs cooked all 


the food and carried it to the dining room in the great 

There was plenty of game in the forests ; deer, bears, 
wild turkeys, and sometimes a wild-cat. The rivers were 
full offish, there were fine oysters in the Bay, and canvas- 
back ducks in their season. The great stables were filled 
with fine horses, for there were few wagon-roads, and 
most of the travelling was on horseback or by boat. 

There were plenty of interesting things to keep a boy 
busy ; and George Washington learned when still young 
to shoot well, to be a good boatman, and a fearless rider. 
While quite small, he learned to read, write, and cipher 
at a small school kept by the church sexton. 

One of his school-mates, and his favorite play-mate, was 
Richard Henry Lee, afterwards a famous Virginian. The 
two boys were friends after they grew up and often wrote 
letters to each other upon business matters or affairs of 

Here are their first letters, written when they were nine 
years old. 

" Richard Henry Lee to George Washington : 

" Pa brought me two pretty books full of pictures 
he got them in Alexandra they have pictures of dogs cats 
tigers and elefants and ever so many pretty things cousin 
bids me send you one of them it has a picture of an elefant 
and a little Indian boy on his back like uncle jo's sam pa 


says if I learn my tasks well he will let uncle jo bring me 

to see you will you ask your ma to let you come to see 


Richard Henry Lee." 

" George Washington to Richard Henry Lee : 
Dear Dicky: 

I thank you very much for the picture book 
you gave me. Sam asked me to show him the pictures 
and I showed him all the pictures in it ; and I read to him 
how the tame elephant took care of the master's little boy, 
and put him on his back and would not let any one hurt 
his master's little son. I can read three or four pages 
sometimes without missing a word. Ma says I may go to 
see you and stay all day with you next week if it be not 
rainy. She says I may ride my pony Hero, if Uncle Ben 
will go with me and lead Hero. I have a little piece of 
poetry about the picture book you gave me, but I mus'nt 
tell you whp wrote the poetry. 

G. W.'s compliments to R. H. L., 
And likes his book full well, 
Henceforth will count him his friend, 
And hopes many happy days he may spend. 
Your good friend, 

George Washington. 
"I am going to get a whip top soon, and you may see 
it and whip it." * 

Little Dicky's letter isn't as well written as the answer, 

* Lossing's " Home of Washington." 


but perhaps George's mother told him how to spell the 
hard words, and about the capitals. 

When George Washington was eleven years old, his 
father died and he was left to the care of his mother and 
half brothers. Mary Washington was a woman of strong- 
character. After her husband died, she managed her 
family and great estates as well as he could have done. 
She rode over her farms in an old-fashioned chaise, visit- 
ing every part and seeing that no work was neglected. 

From her George Washington inherited the govern- 
ing spirit, which later in life enabled him to control armies 
and to wisely direct the nation. She taught him to be 
very orderly, and above everything else to be truthful. 

Here is a story told of him when a boy which shows 
how truthful he was and how much his mother valued 

Upon the estate were many fine horses of which his 
mother was very proud. There were several young horses 
and one, a beautiful sorrel, was very high spirited. No 
one could ride or control it. George was determined to 
ride this colt, and told the other boys, if they would help 
him catch it, he would tame it. 

Very early one morning they went out to the pasture, 
and driving the colt into a fence corner, managed to get 
the bit into its mouth. Washington sprang upon its back, 
told the boys to let go the bridle, and away went colt and 


rider. Round and round the field it ran, Washington 
determined to quiet and control it, and the colt equally 
determined not to obey. It backed, reared, and plunged, 
frightening the boys who began to wish they had not 
helped in the matter. Washington fearlessly kept his seat 
and his mastery of the colt. Again and again it reared 
and plunged, but still the strong hand on the bridal rein 
turned it round against its will. At last, as if determined 
to end the struggle at once, the colt sprang high into the 
air. That was its last bound. A blood-vessel was broken, 
and the beautiful, spirited animal fell to the ground, dead. 

Just then the breakfast bell rang and the boys went 
slowly toward the house, dreading to meet the mother. 

"Well, young gentlemen," said she, as they sat down to 
the breakfast table, "Have you seen my colts this morning 
in your walk? I hope they are well cared for. They tell 
me my favorite sorrel is as large as his sire." 

The boys looked at one another, but no one answered. 
Surprised at their silence their mother repeated her ques- 
tion. Then George spoke. "The sorrel is dead, Madam," 
he said. "I killed him." And then he told her the whole 

For a moment her face Hushed with anger at her son's 
disobedience, and with sorrow at the loss of her colt ; and 
she could not speak. But at last, with strong self-control, 
she overcame the anger she felt and answered calmly, 


" It, is well ; for while I greatly regret the loss of my 
favorite colt, I rejoice in my son who always speaks the 

When a boy becomes a great man and well known, 
then every one likes to hear of the days before he was 
famous, and trace some likeness between the character of 
the boy and that of the great man. Thus the play-mates 
of "Washington, grown old and gray, loved to tell of the 
days when he and they were boys together and the wonder- 
ful things he could do. There is a spot shown, beside the 
Rappahannock River, where he once stood and threw a 
stone to the opposite bank ; and visitors to the Natural 
Bridge in Virginia are always told how George Washing- 
ton threw a stone the whole height of the bridge, over two 
hundred feet. 

He was a tall, powerful young fellow, with very large 
strong hands, and took the lead in the favorite games of 
his day, pitching heavy bars, tossing quoits, running, leap- 
ins;, wrestling;, riding, swimming; and hunting. A strong, 
free life, most of the time in the open air, was, no doubt, 
the best training for the place he was soon called to fill. 

When Augustine Washington died, he left to each child 
an estate. To Lawrence AVashington was given the old 
homestead at Hunting Creek, and to voung Augustine an 
estate at Bridges Creek. A good school was kept at 
Bridges Creek, and when George was twelve years old he 


was sent to live with his brother Augustine to attend this 
school . 

Here he remained until he was sixteen, often making 
visits to his mother at Fredericksburg, and to his brother 
Lawrence at Hunting Creek. 

A few miles from Hunting Creek was the estate of Bel- 
voir, owned by William Fairfax, whose pretty daughter, 
Annie, became the wife of Lawrence Washington and 
went to live at the old homestead of Hunting Creek which, 
soon after their marriage, they re-named Mount Vernon. 
Annie Washington had a brother, George William Fairfax, 
about six years older than George Washington, and the 
two Georges soon became great friends and comrades in all 
the sports of that time. 

The books that George Washington studied at school 
have been carefully kept, and it is very interesting to look 
over the pages of his writing books, the books in which he 
copied long law papers, deeds, leases, wills, and all those 
legal papers which we now employ lawyers to draw up for 
us. In those days there were few lawyers, and every 
gentleman was expected to know how to draw up correctly 
all legal documents relating to his estates. 

He also learned to make out bills, and to keep accounts 
accurately, and in one of his blank books he copied one 
hundred and ten "Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in 
Company and Conversation/' 


Would you like to read some of them ? 

" Strive not with your Superiors in argument, but always 
submit your judgment to others with modesty. 

" Every action in company ought to be with some sign 
of respect to those present. 

"Think before you speak: pronounce not imperfectly, 
nor bring out your words too hastily, but orderly and 

" Speak not evil of the absent, for it is unjust. 

" Make no show of taking delight in your victuals ; feed 
not with greediness ; cut your bread with a knife ; lean not 
on the table, neither find fault with what you eat. 

"Let your recreations be manful not sinful." 

These are very wise rules, but it would be rather diffi- 
cult for most boys of sixteen to remember one hundred and 
ten of them. Perhaps George Washington did not always 
remember them, but they show us what kind of a boy he 
wished and tried to be ; for the best of rules could not 
make a noble, upright man without a resolute manly 
spirit to carry them out. 

Although so large and strong, Washington was always 
gentle, fair-minded, and generous with other boys ; and 
the boy who tried so hard to control the sorrel colt, also 
tried to control something more unmanageable still, his 
own quick temper. 

There was a great deal of talk about war and fighting 


with the Indians, and the boys at school played soldier 
with Washington for commander, and he delighted in drill- 
ing his little army of school-mates. 

When he was about fifteen he was very anxious to leave 
school and enter the service of King George as midship- 
man in the English Navy. His brother Lawrence obtained 
a midshipman's warrant for him, and he was about to go 
on board a man-of-war, when his mother refused to con- 
sent to it, and he gave up the plan and returned to school 
for another year. 

At that time there was a great deal of land in Virginia 
which had never been surveyed. Few planters knew just 
how far their estates extended or where the boundaries lay. 
Washington resolved to study surveying, for it would be 
five or six years before he would be of age and could come 
into possession of his estate, and surveying would be work 
out of doors, which he loved ; best also he could earn money 
for himself. So he studied Geometry and Trigonometry, 
surveyed all the fields around the school-house and his 
brothers' lands, drawing maps and setting boundaries with 
great care. 

He still made frequent visits to his brother at Mount 
Vernon and to his friend, George Fairfax, at Belvoir. He 
had another friend at Belvoir, a strange friend, perhaps, 
for a boy of sixteen — this was Lord Fairfax, a cousin of 
William Fairfax, and a man sixty years old. He had once 


been a gay young man, a favorite in the fashionable society 
of London ; but much of his property was lost, the young 
lady he was to marry chose a wealthier husband, and 
unhappy memories at last drove him from England to 
America, where he had inherited a great estate, comprising 
nearly one-fifth of the present State of Virginia. 

He cared little now for gay society, but liked best the 
wild, out-door life of a hunter, and it was not strange that 
he and the shy, bashful boy of sixteen should become 
great friends. Together they hunted through the great 
mountain forests, and sitting beside their camp tire in the 
dark still nights, the quiet boy and his gray -haired old 
friend had many long talks together. Perhaps the old 
man told his boy-friend of his lonely life, his many dis- 
appointed hopes, and in turn listened to Washington's 
boyish ambitions, his longing for a broader life than that 
of a Virginia planter. 

Learning of his young friend's wish to be a surve} 7 or, 
and having miles of unexplored land west of the Blue 
Ridge Mountains, Lord Fairfax commissioned Washington 
to survey them for him, and in March of 1748, the lad, 
then just a month past sixteen, started with George Fair- 
fax to survey the land beyond the Blue Ridge. 

Through Ashby's gap into the Shenandoah valley they 
rode, building great fires wherever night found them, and 
after cooking their suppers, wrapped their blankets around 


them and slept with only the stars above them. Some- 
times wild storms came up, put out their fires, and left 
them cold, wet, and hungry. They swam their horses 
across swift streams, swollen to torrents by the spring rains. 
They shot deer and wild turkeys, roasting them beside 
their camp-fire and, sitting on a fallen log, ate with their 
hunting knives, using chips for plates. 

Once they camped with a band of Indians and saw them 
have a grand war-dance, and sometimes thev shared the 
rude cabin of the German settlers ; but more often they 
made their own camp in the lonely forest. It was a strange 
experience for the young Virginian, accustomed to a com- 
fortable home and the life of a gentleman ; but he was 
earning his own living and gaining health and strength and 
much useful knowledge beside. He was paid in proportion 
to the amount of his work, and some days he earned as 
many as twent} r dollars. 

This commission from Lord Fairfax was the beginning 
of Washington's public life. His work was so well done 
that the Governor of Virginia appointed him public sur- 
veyor ; that is, a surveyor whose work is recorded in the 
Clerk's office of the County, and also makes legal bound- 
aries for all land bought and sold. Such surveyors must 
be very accurate, for should the surveyor make mistakes, 
people who bought the lands would always be having 
quarrels and law suits over the boundary lines. But years 


and years after Washington worked at surveying, a law- 
yer who had to look up a great many land titles said that 
the only surveys he could depend on were those made by 
the young Virginian, George Washington. 

For three years he worked at this business, except during 
the winter months, spending most of the time among the 
Indians and backwoodsmen of Western Virginia. People 
who saw him at this time said he looked very much like an 
Indian himself, so tall and straight, so grave and silent, 
and wearing the buck-skin suit of the backwoods settler. 
His out door life, his daily labor among such wild, rough 
companions, made him strong and self-reliant far beyond 
his years. Few would have believed the tall, strong, 
silent surveyor, his face bronzed like an Indian's by the 
southern suns, to be a young man of only nineteen, but by 
such severe training he was being prepared for the work of 
coming years. 

Whether surveying among the backwoodsmen or visit- 
ing at his brother's beautiful home, Mount Vernon, Wash- 
ington was sure to hear a great deal of talk about the 
country farther west, especially the Ohio valley. The 
English had their colonies along the Atlantic Coast, the 
French had theirs along the St. Lawrence River, the 
Great Lakes, and through the Mississippi valley. The 
French built forts and trading posts, the English cleared 
away the forests and made farms. For a long time the 


mountains separated them, but year after year the English 
crossed the mountains and settled in the fertile valleys 

The Indians, roaming over the whole country, found 
themselves between the two nations, and soon their hunt- 
ing- ground would be gone. The different tribes were 
always at war with one another, and therefore were glad 
of the white man's rifle to help them. So some of the 
Indians sided with the French and some with the English, 
while others were friendly now to the one nation and now 
to the other. 

The French began building forts in the Ohio valley, 
and the English formed the Ohio Land Company and 
started settlements in the same valley. Lawrence and 
Augustine Washington were members of the Ohio Land 
Company and invested money in . the new settlements. 
Soon there were rumors of war between the two nations 
and the English Colonies prepared to defend their settlers 
on the frontier. 

At that time Virginia extended from Chesapeake Bay 
to Lake Erie and as far west as they chose to claim, for 
no western boundary existed. When Virginia prepared 
for war George Washington, then but nineteen years old, 
was made Adjutant General of the district which included 
Mount Vernon : and he immediately began studying mili- 
tary tactics, learning how to drill men and how to handle 


bodies of soldiers in battle. He also took lessons from an 
old Dutch soldier in sword exercises. 

But in the midst of these preparations, Lawrence Wash- 
ington was taken ill, and his physicians ordered him to 
the West Indies to spend the winter, hoping the warm 
climate might restore him to health. George Washington 
now laid aside all other interests to accompany his invalid 
brother, and in September, 1751, they sailed for the West 

Washington greatly enjoyed his visit, although while 
there he had smallpox, the scars of which he carried during 
the remainder of his life. He thought the people of the 
West Indies very shiftless and extravagant ; he said they 
would not work and were always in debt. 

Washington was a very prudent, economical young man. 
He had little money except what he earned, and it was one 
of his rules never to spend money until he had earned it : 
and he held to this rule all his life. Because he was so 
careful and correct in money matters many people called 
him mean and close ; but he cared nothing about that. He 
preferred to be economical and scrupulously honest. 

The climate of the West Indies did not improve the 
health of Lawrence Washington, and as he grew r weaker he 
wished to see his wife and daughter again. So he sent his 
brother George back to Virginia to bring them to him, but 
before they had time to start he grew so much worse that 



he started for home himself, and arrived in July, 1752, at 
Mount Vernon, where he died very soon after, having lived 
just long enough to see once more the wife and daughter 
he loved so well. Lawrence Washington appointed George 
one of the executors of his will and made him heir to 
his estates, should his daughter die before she came 
of age. 

The management of his brother's estates was left to 
George Washington by the other executors, and from that 
time Mount Vernon became his home. 

Now came stormy days for the young man. The trouble 
between France and England increased. The French 
marched into the Ohio valley and commenced building 
forts. The Governor of Virginia decided to send a 
commissioner to inquire why they were building forts on 
English territory and what they intended to do. It would 
be no easy task for the commissioner. He must know the 
country well and be able to deal with the Indians. It 
would be a hard, rough journey, and the man who under- 
took it must be strong, brave and wise. For this position 
George Washington was chosen. He was a thorough back- 
woodsman, and could follow a trail through the dense 
forests as well as the Indians. They all knew and re- 
spected him, for he was a level-headed, quick-witted young 
fellow whom every one trusted. Thus it happened that in 
October, 1752, Major George Washington, twenty-one 



years old, started on his perilous journey of over one 
thousand miles. 

His company consisted of an interpreter and five hardy 
frontiersmen. Slowly they journeyed on, now over the 
lofty mountain ranges through storms of snow and rain, 
now through muddy swamps and dense forests, swimming 
their horses across the swollen streams. Often cold, wet 
and hungry, but never discouraged, they kept bravely on 
through mud and snow drifts and swollen rivers, until they 
reached Fort-le-Bouf. Here the French commander re- 
ceived them politely, read the Governor's letter, drew up a 
very formal reply, and Major Washington and his men 
started toward home. 

Now came a terrible journey. The horses were weak 
and nearly worn out, the weather grew colder and colder 
and the roads harder to travel. At last Washington 
decided to take one man with him — leaving the others to 
follow along with the horses — and take a shorter road 
which could be travelled only on foot. On the day after 
Christmas, dressed as an Indian and with his letters and 
papers strapped in a pack on his back, his gun in his hand, 
he started for the Ohio River. 

They expected to find the river frozen over but when 
they reached it, it was filled with floating masses of ice, 
whirled swiftly along by the swollen current. With one 
small hatchet they worked all day constructing a raft, and 


just at sunset started to cross the river, but were soon 
jammed in the floating blocks of ice and could neither go 
backward nor forward. Once Washington was jerked from 
the raft into the icy river, but managed to climb back, wet 
and chilled, to its frail support. At last the raft drifted 
against a small island, and here they remained through the 
night which grew very cold, and Washington's companion 
had his fingers and some of his toes frozen. 

In the morning they found the river frozen solid and 
crossed easily on the ice. After many days of weary 
travel, they reached Williamsburg and reported to the 
Governor there. Thus Washington proved to his friends 
how fearless he was in the midst of danger, how undaunted 
by the greatest difficulties. 

The Governor now sent men to build a fort at the junc- 
tion of the Alleghany and Monongahela rivers, and several 
weeks later an English colonel with one hundred and fifty 
soldiers followed them. Washington accompanied him as 
second in command, but before reaching the place they met 
the men returning, having been driven from the spot by a 
large body of French troops who were now building a fort 
for themselves in the same place. This fort they called 
Fort Duquesne ; and on that spot the city of Pittsburg now 

The English colonel was much disappointed, but Wash- 
ington did not hesitate. Sending back word to the Gov- 


ernor and urging him to send on more troops, he began 
building a road as he went and at last, reaching a level piece 
of land at the foot of the Alleghany Mountains, called Great 
Meadows, he began building a fort. Soon a friendly 
Indian brought him word that the French were coming to 
drive him out; but guided by the Indian, with forty 
soldiers he marched through the forest at night and at sun- 
rise attacked the French, thus firing the first shot in the 
seven years' war between France and England. Scatter- 
ing the French troops and taking over twenty prisoners, 
he marched quickly back to Great Meadows. 

But the French at Fort Duquesne soon heard of this and 
a large body of troops marched to attack him. Washing- 
ton strengthened his fort as much as possible, but the 
French force was far superior to his, and after nine hours 
of severe fighting, he was obliged to surrender. He was 
allowed to return home with his men after promising to 
build no more forts west of the mountains for one year. 

With a heavy heart the young colonel marched his men 
homeward. It was his first defeat, and he was but twenty- 
two years old. But defeat is sometimes as necessary as 
success in developing the greatness of a man's character, 
and he had learned something of the art of war. He knew 
what it meant to be a soldier ; he had heard the whistling 
of bullets around his head and had learned to lead men in 
battle. Twenty-one years from the day he marched away 


from Great Meadows he drew his sword at the head of the 
American Army. 

The Governor now wished him to organize a larger com- 
pany and again attack Fort Duqnesne, but experience had 
taught Washington that it was useless to start at the begin- 
ning of winter with soldiers who had neither clothes, 
ammunition nor blankets fit for such an expedition. He 
urged the Governor to prepare his soldiers, and start in 
the spring; but there were many others, jealous of the 
young commander, who advised differently, and at last, tired 
of trying to make an army with nothing to make it of, 
Washington resigned his commission in disgust. 

But now England saw the needs and dangers of her 
colonies, and in February, 1775, sent Major-General 
Edward Braddock with two regiments of soldiers from 
England, with authority to command all the soldiers 
of the colonies. Here was something grand! The King's 
soldiers, splendidly dressed and well drilled, under a vet- 
eran general, were something very different from bodies of 
ragged frontiersmen under captains who knew nothing 
of war. Washington longed to be one of them, for here 
was a chance to learn the real art of war. But he held no 
commission now and had no company to offer. However, 
General Braddock soon heard of the young Virginia colonel 
who had so bravely tried to drive the French from His 
Majesty's dominions, and he offered Washington a position 


as aid-de-camp on his military staff, which was gladly 
accepted, and early in May he joined General Braddock 
and the campaign began. 

Braddock had little patience with the ragged, undrilled 
soldiers of the Colonies, and Washington was learning a 
good many things about soldiers. He saw that the English 
regiments, with their tine uniforms and military training, 
were no braver men than the slouchy looking Virginians. 
Besides they knew nothing of Indian Warfare, nor of 
marching over rough mountains and through dense forests. 

Slowly, and with all the parade of an old world army, 
making roads and building bridges as he passed, General 
Braddock marched along. Washington was sick with 
fever and unable to sit up much of the time, but he saw 
plainly that Braddock did not understand border warfare. 
On the 9th of July, though weak from the fever, Wash- 
ington mounted his horse and joined General Braddock. 

The army was about to ford the Monongahela River and 
marched down the bank, with bands playing and colors 
floating on the warm July air. Braddock thought the 
sight of his gallant army would strike dismay and terror 
to the hearts of the French and Indians. In after years 
Washington said it was the most beautiful sight he had 
ever witnessed. The soldiers marched in regular order, 
the sun shining brightly on their burnished arms, the river 
flowing deep and tranquil on their right, the solemn gran- 


deur of the over-shadowing forests on their left. But the 
beauty of the scene did not blind Washington's eyes to the 
fatal blunder they were making. He pointed out the 
danger of an ambush and urged General Braddoek to send 
a scouting party in advance. But Braddoek flew into a 
passion at once: "High times, high times, indeed!" he 
exclaimed, " when a Colonel Buckskin would teach a 
British General how to fight." 

On marched the army through dense underbrush, over 
hills and into hollows, when suddenly a man appeared in 
their path, waved his hand and disappeared. In an 
instant a shower of bullets and arrows fell around them 
and the battle began. The British soldiers formed in a 
solid square and fired volley after volley into the woods, 
but could see no foe. From every direction came bullets 
and arrows, and half their number lay dead ; then in terror 
they turned and fled. Slipping behind trees and rocks, 
the despised Virginians held back the enemy and protected 
the retreat of the British. Five horses fell under General 
Braddoek, and at last he was fatally wounded. Washing- 
ton was everywhere, his tall figure towering above the 
rest. Two horses were shot under him and four bullets 
pierced his coat, but he seemed to bear a charmed life as 
he rode back and forth, the only officer not w r ounded of all 
Braddock's staff. 

Slowly and sadly the remnant of that gay, proud little 


army retreated, carrying their dying General with them ; 
and on the fourth day of the retreat he died and was 
buried by the roadside. Washington read the burial 
service over the grave, for all the chaplains were dead or 
wounded. So the great expedition of General Braddock 
ended in gloom and disaster. 

The Virginians, greatly alarmed, now resolved to 
increase their army at once, and George Washington was 
appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Army of Virginia. 
He was now twenty-three years old, and the next three 
years were, perhaps, the most trying ones of his eventful 
life. He had seen the order and discipline of English 
troops and wished to organize his army on the same plan. 
But the free, independent backwoodsmen did not take 
kindly to military discipline, and were so poorly paid they 
could scarcely supply themselves with shoes, stockings, 
and shirts. 

Washington was expected to defend the western frontier 
against the French and Indians who were daily growing 
bolder. Without men or money this was an impossible 
task. Often he was tempted to resign his command, but 
the poor settlers on the frontier entreated him not to do so. 
It was a hard school for the young commander, } r et the 
lessons then learned served him well in later years. But 
brighter days were coming. 

Mr. Pitt, a famous English statesman, took charge of 


England's affairs and at once began helping the colonies. 
English soldiers were sent over, able men were placed in 
command, Virginia raised two more regiments, and Wash- 
ington still held command of the Virginians. Braddock 
had refused to listen to him, but the new commander coun- 
selled with him and often gave him the lead. 

Late in the fall of 1758 the army again marched against 
Fort Duquesne, the Virginia soldiers under Washington in 
advance. The French soon saw that this was a different 
expedition, and after burning Fort Duquesne, left the Ohio 
valley. The English found only a smoking ruin, but rais- 
ing the English flag, they soon constructed a larger and 
better fort, calling it Fort Pitt, and from that beginning 
grew the beautiful city of Pittsburg, for many years called 
the "Gateway of the West." 

The French had left the valley, an army was no longer 
needed, and Washington, resigning his commission, re- 
turned to his home at Mount Vernon, which was now really 
his — his brother Lawrence's daughter having died young — 
and he once more took up the life of a Virginia planter. 

Something else had occurred in his life which perhaps 
made it easy for him to resign his command and retire to 
the quiet life of a Virginia farmer. While travelling on 
horseback through the state, he had stopped over night at 
the house of a friend and there met a beautiful young 
widow, Martha Custis. It was easy to make excuses for 


calling often, and being as diligent in love as in war, in 
a few weeks he won the lady's promise to be his wife as 
soon as the war was over. This was in May, 1758. In 
November the war closed, and on January 6th, 1759, they 
were married. 

Washington at once took his wife and her two little 
children, six and four years old, to his home at Mount 
Vernon. He was now a very wealthy man for that time. 
He had large estates and many slaves belonging to him, 
his wife and her children were wealthy, and he had the 
care of it all. But these were the happiest days of his 
life. They had no children born to them, but Washington 
dearly loved his wife's two little ones and was nearly 
heart-broken when the daughter died at the age of sixteen. 
The Custis boy grew up and married ; but soon young- 
Mr. Custis and his wife died leaving little children, and 
Washington adopted these as his own. 

From the day of his marriage until his death, Washing- 
ton wore a small picture of his wife hung from his neck 
by a gold chain. In all his letters to her he called her 
"My Dear Patsy," and his domestic life was always happy 
and peaceful. The next sixteen years of his life were quiet 
and uneventful. Rising at four o'clock and breakfasting 
at seven, he rode over his estates until dinner time, 
superintending all the work and improvements. He was 
a splendid horseman, and loved to break colts as well as 


when he was a boy at home. Between dinner and tea 
time he wrote letters and posted his books, for he kept a 
strict book account of everything about his estate, his 
horses, cattle, crops, slaves, everything bought or sold 
was written down in its proper place. 

Everything used upon the farm or in the house was 
bought in England, and twice a .year he sent a list of 
things to be purchased to his agent in London. All these 
bills are preserved in his library. It is a wonder how 
people managed to remember all their wants at one time. 
All the plows, hoes, spades, medicines, groceries, furni- 
ture, books, and clothing for so many people made a long 
list ; there were all the slaves to be fed and clothed as well 
as the family, and in making out those bills Washington 
did not forget to order "Toys for Master Custis," and "A 
fashionably dressed doll-baby for Miss Custis, four years 

Washington was also fond of society, often entertain- 
ing his friends at his beautiful home : and the grave, stately 
Commander and his beautiful wife were welcome visitor 
in the cities of Virginia and Maryland. 

He was fond of hunting, especially fox hunting, and wat 
always ready for a day's ride after the hounds. The 
Potomac River afforded excellent fishing and duck-hunting, 
and during the season he was out early and late shooting. 

Thus the happy days, full of pleasant work and cheerful 


recreation, passed swiftly by until 1765, when the British 
Parliament passed the Stamp Act and roused the Colonies 
to fieiy indignation. So strong was the feeling against 
this Act that at last it was repealed, but England imposed 
heavy duties on tea, paper, glass, and other articles, until 
in December, 1773, occurred the famous Boston Tea Party, 
followed by the seizure and fortification of Boston Neck 
by the British. Massachusetts now called a convention 
of the Colonies, and George Washington was one of the 
delegates from Virginia, riding to Philadelphia in company 
with Edmund Pendleton and the fiery, eloquent Patrick 

Soon the news of Concord and Lexington roused every 
one, and on May 10th the Continental Congress again met 
and, after a few days" debate, elected George Washington 
Commander-in-Chief of the American Army. 

It was on the loth of June, 1775, that he was elected 
and the next day he accepted the commission on condition 
that he should receive no pay but bear his own expenses. 

There was no time to lose, no time to return home and 
bid good-by to wife and friends, and he knew not whether 
he would ever see them again. But he wrote a long letter 
to his "Dear Patsy," telling her of his appointment and 
of how much rather he would remain at home with 
her, but duty called, his country commanded, and he 
must obey or seem a coward. I do not think Martha 


• Under this tree Washington first took command of the American Army, July 3, 1775.' 


Washington would have wished him to do otherwise ; she 
must have been very proud of her brave soldier husband. 

Washington started for Boston on June 21st, accom- 
panied by a body of horsemen. When only a few miles 
on the road they met a messenger bringing news of the 
Battle of Bunker Hill. " Why did the Provincials retreat?" 
the messenger was asked. "For want of ammunition," 
he replied. "Did they stand the lire of the British?" 
Washington asked. "That they did, sir! And held their 
own fire in reserve until the enemy were within eight 
rods." "Then the liberty of the country is safe!" ex- 
claimed Washington, for he remembered Braddock's splen- 
did troops, and thought if a body of farmers could meet 
such an attack, they would make brave soldiers. 

All along the route people welcomed him, and on the 
afternoon of July 2nd he rode into Cambridge where the 
army was assembled, and on the morning of July 3rd, 
1775, took command, and the seven long dreary years 
of the Revolutionary War began. 

You can read in history all the incidents of this war. 
How the brave little Army of America fought against the 
well-dressed, well-drilled British Regulars, sometimes win- 
ning glorious victories and again suffering disastrous 
defeats. How intrenchments were thrown up on Dor- 
chester Heights in one night and the British compelled 
to leave Boston. How in the dead of night Washington 


withdrew his men from Long Island, crossing and reeross- 
ing with muffled oars until all were away, and the British 
marching in the next morning found the Island, but no 
American soldiers ; then the perilous crossing of the 
Delaware and the capture of the Hessians at Trenton; the 
terrible winter at Valley Forse, those darkest days of 
Washington's life, when his little, ragged, half-starved 
army left the prints of their bare feet marked in blood 
upon the frozen ground. 

Then came the brave young French Marquis de La 
Fayette, offering life and fortune to the cause of American 
freedom ; and all the band of heroes who faithful to their 
loved Commander, gave the best of their lives for freedom 
and their native land. But, towering above them all upon 
the pages of History as upon the battlefield, stands the 
name of Washington. His undaunted courage, his hope- 
fulness under seemingly hopeless conditions held together 
and inspired the forlorn little army, when neglected and 
blamed by Congress and the people. He triumphed alike 
over foreign foe and treacherous friend. 

At last came the Battle of Monmouth, when General 
Charles Lee, jealous of Washington's greatness, disobeyed 
orders and refused to attack the British. General La 
Fayette urged him to attack at once. "You do not know 
British soldiers," said Lee. " We cannot stand against 
them. We shall certainly be driven back." ''We have 


beaten British soldiers before, and can do it again," 
answered La Fayette. But General Lee ordered a retreat, 
and in despair La Fayette sent a message to Washington 
telling him to come at once. Away went Washington, 
and soon he met a little tifer boy who called out : " They 
are all coming this way, your honor ! " " Who are coming, 
my little man?" asked Washington. "Why our boys, 
your honor, our boys, and the British are right after 
them." Away galloped Washington to the top of a hill, 
where he saw his soldiers retreating. On he went, down 
the hill, over the bridge, straight up to General Lee, the 
soldiers cheering as he passed and turning back from their 
retreat. Looking at General Lee with Hashing eyes, he 
exclaimed, "What, sir, does this mean?" Frightened 
and angry, Lee replied that the attack was against his 
judgment. "You are a poltroon," exclaimed Washington, 
whatever your opinion may have been, I expect my orders 
to be obeyed." " The men cannot face the British," 
answered Lee. "They can and they 'shall," said Washing- 
ton, "will you lead this attack, or shall I?" "It is the 
same to me wherever I command," answered Lee angrily. 
"Then remain here, and remember I expect you to check 
the enemy." "Your orders shall be obeyed," said Lee. 

All day the battle raged, and when night came the 
British had been driven from the field. AYashington 
directed the men to lie down just where they were and 



in the morning they would renew the attack. But when 
morning dawned not a red-coat was in sight. Under 
cover of the darkness they had slipped away. General 
Lee was tried by courtmartial and suspended from the 
service, and from that time it was understood who was 
the head of the American Army. The battle of Mon- 
mouth was the last great battle until the surrender of 
Yorktown, three years later. 

Lord Cornwallis commanded the British Army in Vir- 
ginia, and Sir Henry Clinton, the British Army in New 
York. The army in New York was better fortified than 
the army in Virginia. Washington, therefore, unknown 
to the British, withdrew most of his army from New York 
and strengthened his forces in Virginia. Slowly but 
surely they surrounded Yorktown, and Lord Cornwallis, 
to his great surprise, found himself cut off from all sup- 
plies and all communications with the other army ; and 
so upon the 19th of October he surrendered to General 
Washington. How the people rejoiced then, for they 
knew the long war was nearly ended. 

Washington now made a short visit to Mount Vernon, 
the first time he had seen his home since leaving it to 
attend the Continental Congress in May, 1775. He also 
visited his mother at Fredericksburg. She asked a great 
many questions about his health and his family, but said 
not a word about the s'reat honor and glorv he had won, 



To her he was only her boy, not the great Commander-in- 
Chief, the hero of America. 

After the battle of Yorktown, Washington made his 
headquarters at Newburg on the Hudson and here 
remained until the army was disbanded. When he was 
about to start for Philadelphia to resign his commission, 
his officers who had been with him during the long dreary 
war came to bid him farewell. One by one he took them 
by the hand and kissed them, but said not a word. Then 
silently they walked with him from the room and down to 
the wharf. As he stepped on board the boat, he turned and 
waved his hat to them. In silence every man returned the 
salute, their hearts too full of grief for words to be spoken. 

Washington went to Philadelphia, resigned his commis- 
sion, and once more became a private citizen. He hastened 
back to Mount Vernon, where he passed a quiet, happy 
winter enjoying the society of his wife and her grand- 
children, whom they had adopted as their own. The next 
Spring he resumed his old life as a farmer. He enlarged 
his house, planted trees, and looked after his different 
estates. No doubt he found much to do after being absent 
seven years. 

But while Washington was planting trees and visiting 
his old friends, the country was drifting to ruin. There 
was no union between the Colonies, no authority, no 
government. At last a convention was called to draft a 



On this site in Federal Hall, April 30, 1789, George Washington took the oath as the first 
President of the United States of America. 


constitution. Washington was chosen a delegate from 
Virginia, and for four months the Convention met day by 
day, framing the Constitution by which our great nation 
is now governed. At last it was completed and every 
member signed it : George Washington first, as President 
of the Convention. But more than a year passed before 
enough States adopted it to make it the law of the 

Now came the question : Who should be the first 
President of the United States ? Every one named Wash- 
ington, and though very reluctant to do so, he at last 
accepted the nomination. He wrote to La Fayette that 
after the stormy life he had led he would much rather 
pass the remainder of his life quietly at home with his 
family. But there was no doubt about the people's choice, 
every vote was cast for Washington. 

Congress was in session in Federal Hall, in Wall Street, 
New York. At noon, on April 30th, 1789, Washington 
entered the Senate Chamber and was escorted to the 
balcony in front of the Hall by John Adams. Here 
Robert R. Livingston, Chancellor of the State of New 
York, pronounced the oath of office, and Washington 
replied, "I swear, so help me God," and bent his stately 
head to kiss the Bible lying on a stand before him. Then 
the Chancellor turned to the crowded street below, waved 
his hand, and cried; "Long live George Washington, 


President of the United States ! " Then how the people 
shouted, how bells rang and cannons roared. 

With the good will of all the people, Washington entered 
upon his duties as President. For eight years he held the 
office. He called to his Cabinet the wisest men of the 
nation. Through good and evil report he led his country 
safely, guarding her from dangers at home and abroad. 
He still kept his old habits of rising at four and retiring 
at nine, and his chief recreations were riding and driving. 
He never lost his love for good horses nor his ability to 
manage them. 

Mrs. Washington was a lady, very courteous and kindly 
in manner, and tilled her position as wife of the first Presi- 
dent with great dignity and sweetness of character. But 
her heart was in her home at Mount Vernon, and they 
both longed for the time when they could return to it. 

After serving eight years, Washington declined another 
term. For more than twenty years he had really stood 
at the head of the nation. He had started the country on 
the road to prosperity and was tired alike of flattery and 
of censure. Now that his country no longer stood in peril, 
he would go back to his dearly loved farm. But before 
he went he wrote his famous " Farewell Address to the 
People of the United States." The one aim of his life had 
been to serve his country faithfully, and the address was 
full of advice, warning, and political wisdom. He attended 


the inauguration of the new President, John Adams. As 
he returned to his own home, the people crowded around 
him and cheered and cheered. He smiled and waved his 
hat to them, his hair, grown white in their service, blown 
about his lace by the wind. Upon the threshold he turned 
and looked long and earnestly at them. His face was very 
pale and tears stood in his eyes. He waved his hand to 
them and passed into the house. 

Once more he returned to the quiet of his home and the 
society of his family, but he was not allowed to enjoy it 
Ions;. War was threatened between France and the United 
States, and President Adams appointed him Commander- 
in-chief once more. In March, 1797, he had returned to 
his home : in July, 1798, he was appointed Commander- 
in-Chief, and quietly and without complaint took up the 
burden he had so gladly laid down. 

But he did not bear it long. On December 12th, 1799, 
while riding over his farm, he was caught in a storm of 
sleet and rain and reached home chilled through by the ex- 
posure. The next day he complained of a sore throat and 
during the night was seized with a severe chill. Early in 
the morning of December 14th physicians were called, but 
could do nothing for him, and between ten and eleven that 
night, after a day of most acute suffering, he passed away. 

His body was laid to rest in the family vault at Mount 
Vernon amid the tears of the whole nation. Beside him 


sleeps his "Dear Patsy," she who made his home life so 
peaceful and happy. The old mansion stands to-day as it 
stood then, and Washington's bedroom and library remain 
as they were when he last occupied them. 

The house, tomb, and two hundred acres of the estate 
were purchased in 1858 by the Ladies Mount Vernon As- 
sociation, and are preserved as a memorial of their owner. 

Many monuments have been erected in his honor in 
different cities, and though one hundred years have passed 
since a mourning nation laid him to rest in lovely Mount 
Vernon, yet to this day all boats going up and down the 
beautiful Potomac River toll their bells softly when pass- 
ing the tomb of him who was first in war, first in peace, 
and first in the hearts of his countrymen. 

"The first, the last, the best ; 
The Cincinnatus of the West." 

But best known to the people of his own and other 
lands as, George Washington, the Father of his Country. 


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"The Sase of Monticello." 

In the central part of the "Old Dominion" state, among 
the foothills on the eastern slope of the Blue Ridge moun- 
tains, lies Albemarle County, within whose boundaries 
Thomas Jefferson, third President of the United States, 
was born, lived, died and was buried. 

Early in the eighteenth century, Peter Jefferson, a farmer 
whose ancestors, traditon said, had come from the vicin- 
ity of Mount Snowdon in AVales, owned an estate or 
plantation near the mouth of the James River, which, 
in compliment to the traditions of his family, he called 

Here his wealth grew and wishing to increase his landed 
estates also, he moved farther west, and upon the banks of 
the Rivanna River, a tributary of the James, he patented 
his title to one thousand acres of river-valley and moun- 
tain-plateau land. Then, taking with him about thirty 
slaves from Snowdon, he established his home upon his 
new possessions. 

The trails of hostile Indians were still fresh upon the 

surrounding hills and through the unbroken wilderness 



where he had chosen his estates, but the brave, hardy 
pioneer cared little for that, and with the help of his 
servants soon had part of his new plantation under culti- 

His manliness, courage and honesty won for him the 
friendship of the best people of Virginia. The Randolphs, 
one of the oldest and proudest families of the Old Dom- 
inion, who boasted of their connection in England with 
warriors, scholars and even with royalty itself, were 
special friends of Peter Jefferson, the pioneer farmer. 
Colonel William Randolph took out a patent of land 
adjoining his, and when Peter Jefferson wished a better 
building site than any upon his own estate, Colonel Ran- 
dolph sold him four hundred acres for that purpose. 

Upon this tract of land Peter Jefferson built his house 
and out-buildings including; cabins for his negroes. When 
all was completed, he brought home his bride, Jane Ran- 
dolph, a cousin of his friend and neighbor, the Colonel. 
Jane Randolph was born in the parish of Shadwell, Lon- 
don, and in memory of his wife's old home Peter Jefferson 
named his new estate Shadwell. 

Soon after their marriage Albemarle County was set off 
and the County seat located at Charlottesville, although 
most of the country was still a wilderness. Peter 
Jefferson was one of the first justices of the peace for 
the new county, and was also county surveyor. He 


was a slow, grave man, very tall and .said to be the 
strongest man in the state. His wife was many years 
younger than himself, a noble woman, cheerful, sensible 
fond of music and an excellent housekeeper. 

On the thirteenth of April, 1743, their first son and 
third child was born, and when the little boy, who had 
been named Thomas, was about two years old, the family 
moved to Tuckahoe, near Richmond. Tuckahoe was the 
estate of Mrs. Jefferson's cousin and Peter's old friend, 
Colonel Randolph, who died in 1745 ; and it was in com- 
pliance with his last request that Peter Jefferson moved 
to Tuckahoe, as administrator of the estate and guardian 
of the little son of his old friend. 

The family remained at Tuckahoe seven years, and here 
Thomas Jefferson first attended school. In 1752, they 
returned to the farmhouse at Shad well and Thomas w T as 
sent to a school kept by a Scotch clergyman named 
Douglass, who gave the boy his first lessons in Latin. He 
also commenced to take lessons on the violin, and for 
twelve years practiced three hours daily, until he become 
the most skilful violinist in the country. This practice he 
continued until late in life, when a broken wrist compelled 
him to lay aside his precious violin forever. 

In those days boys were taught to hunt and fish and use 
a rifle, almost as soon as they learned to walk. Young 
Thomas spent many hours hunting in the woods surround- 


ing his fathers estate, and made the acquaintance of many 
of the Indian chiefs, who still made their home in the 
wilderness of western Virginia. Throughout his lono- life 
he kept the respect and regard of those Indians, which 
he gained when a boy. 

When Thomas Jefferson was fourteen years old, his 
father, still in the prime of life, died after a few days of 
illness. Like most of the early settlers of Virginia, he 
followed the English custom of leaving the home and large 
estate of Shad well to his eldest son Thomas, while to an 
infant son, named Randolph, he willed the smaller estate 
on the James River, called Snowdon. 

Mrs. Jefferson remained in the old farmhouse after her 
husband's death, surrounded by her faithful servants and 
caring for her daughters and infant son. But Thomas was 
sent by his guardian to a private school for boys, about 
fifteen miles from home. Here he took up the studies 
necessary to prepare him for college and still kept up the 
daily practice on his violin. 

At the age of seventeen he went to Williamsburg, then 
the capital of the Virginia Colony and entered an advanced 
class in William and Mary College, the oldest college in 
the United States with the exception of Harvard. During 
his first year at college Thomas did not study very hard. 
He was a tall young fellow, inheriting much of his father's 
great strength and his fellow students said he was as fleet- 


footed as a young deer, seeming never to tire in their long 
tramps over the hills and through the heavy forests of the 
Blue Ridge country. 

He was fond of hunting, boating and swimming ; fond of 
good horses and a graceful, daring rider; a fine violinist, 
a good dinger and very fond of society. Welcomed to the 
highest social rank in Virginia on account of his mother's 
aristocratic relatives, and with plenty of money and ser- 
vants at his command, perhaps it is not to be wondered 
at that the boy's head was slightly turned and his studies 
somewhat neglected. 

But this did not last long. He soon saw that enjoyment 
and good times were a small part of a man's life work, and 
in sending to his guardian the account of his first year's 
expenses in college, he blamed himself for his extrava- 
gance and promised to turn over a new leaf for the next 

This promise he kept. He left society, hung up his 
precious violin, and during his second year at college, 
studied fifteen hours a day. His only exercise was a swift 
run just at twilight, to a particular stone one mile from 
the town, and then back again. At the end of the year 
he graduated from William and Mary with high honors, 
having completed the full course in half the customary 

He still kept handsome, spirited horses and loved to ride 


them, and there is a story that he was so particular in 
having them cared for that, when his horse was brought to 
the door, he would not mount until he had first brushed 
its glossy coat with a fine cambric handkerchief; if any 
dust or speck of dirt showed on the white cambric, the 
horse was sent back to the stable and the groom repri- 

Thomas Jefferson left college with a high reputation for 
scholarship for one so young, and he did not give up study 
because college days were over. He entered the law office 
of George Wythe, a distinguished lawyer of Williamsburg, 
whose acquaintance he had made while at college, and 
studied law diligently for five years. 

Part of his time while studying law he spent at quiet 
Shadwell, looking after his estates and reading Greek and 
Latin, with occasional visits to the plantations of his 
neighbors when he journeyed to and from Williamsburg. 

He was very methodical in his habits and remained so 
until the close of his long life. He rose regurlarly at five 
o'clock in winter, and in summer as early as he could see 
the hands on his bedroom clock. Twilight was his time 
for exercise. Then he would paddle his canoe along the 
Rivanna River or. mounted on his favorite horse, take a 
swift gallop along the country roads. 

Sometimes he took a long walk, climbing to the crest of 
one of the foothills of the mountains on his estate, about 


two miles from his home, which he had named "Monticello" 
("Little mountain"), and on whose summit he intended 
to build a stately mansion for himself when he became of 
age. Here he often sat under an oak tree, looking out 
over his beautiful estate of hill and valley, woodland and 
fertile fields, through which the river ran, like a shining 
thread of silver in the green landscape. 

At home in the evening he found relief from the dry 
study of " Blackstone " and " Coke " in the strains of 
sweetest melody drawn from his violin. There were no 
pianos or organs in the American farmhouses of those 
days, but Thomas Jefferson was a fine singer, and his 
sister Jane, three years older than himself, who was his 
constant companion and to whom he confided all his plans 
and hopes, had also a sweet voice, and they spent many 
happy hours singing songs, church hymns and psalms. 

In April, 1764, Thomas Jefferson came of age, and fol- 
lowing an old English custom, the young heir celebrated 
his birthday by planting an avenue of locust and sycamore 
trees, a few of which are still growing over the ruins of 
the old farmhouse where he was born. Part of the foun- 
dations and remnants of the great chimneys, with the few 
surviving trees, are all that remain to mark the birthplace 
of this great man ; and the meadow grass grows long and 
sheep and cattle feed quietly over the spot where, with his 
sisters, he played and romped in happy childhood. 


Thomas Jefferson was now a man, ready to do a man's 
work in the world. He took up the County offices which 
were his heritage and became a justice of the peace and a 
parish vestryman. He also procured an act of the legis- 
lature by which the channel of the Rivanna River was 
widened, making it navigable to the James, so that produce 
could be sent to the seaport markets by boats. 

He began, also, to make improvements at Monticello, 
and preparations for the mansion he wished to build there. 
A young man named Dabney Carr, who was his best 
college friend and chum, was a frequent visitor at Shad- 
well, and the two men often climbed to the top of Monticello 
where they sat and talked of what the coming years would 
bring to them. Their favorite resting place was under the 
branches of an oak tree, about half way to the summit. 
Here they arranged a rustic seat and sitting there, talking- 
together in the twilight, they made an agreement that 
the one who died first should be buried by the other on 
that spot. 

It fell to Thomas Jefferson to fulfil this promise. 
In 1765, Dabney Carr was married to Jefferson's younger 
sister, Martha ; in 1773, he died very suddenly and 
Jefferson laid him to rest under the oak, the first grave 
in the little burial place of Monticello. 

Jefferson then took his widowed sister and her six 
young children into his household, adopting the children 


as his own, and thus proved his loyalty to the friend of 
his boyhood. 

In 1765, soon after his sister Martha married, Jefferson's 
favorite sister, Jane, died and Sbadwell no longer seemed 
like home to the young proprietor. He studied more than 
ever now and hastened the improvements and building 
at Monticello. 

In 1767, he was admitted to the bar and began practice 
with his old friend, George Wythe, in whose office he had 
studied. He rose rapidly in his profession during the next 
seven years, and though never a brilliant orator, his sound 
sense and thorough knowledge of legal questions won him 
a large practice. But he never liked the profession, and 
once defined a lawyer as " a person whose trade it is to 
contest everything, concede nothing and talk by the hour." 

During his years of stud}^ in George Wythe's office, 
Jefferson had made the acquaintance of Patrick Henry 
and had listened to his fiery eloquence, as he denounced 
Kino; George and the English Parliament in the House 
of Burgesses. He also made a trip to Philadelphia to be 
vaccinated, which was then a new experiment, and visited 
Xew York, where he met Elbridge Gerry for the first time. 
Thus these two young men, who a few years later were to 
be among the makers of a great nation, were learning to 
know each other well, and when the great hour came were 
prepared to work together. 


In 1769, Jefferson was chosen a representative of 
Albemarle County in the House of Burgesses, which met 
at Williamsburg, and here he met Colonel George Wash- 
ington, Richard Henry Lee, Patrick Henry and many 
other brave Virginians, who were soon to take an active 
part in their country's welfare. During the first session 
of the House which he attended, resolutions condemning 
the taxation of the Colonies were passed, and when the 
Governor of Virginia, loyal to the King, hastily dismissed 
the House without waiting to hear the resolutions read, 
the members met in the tavern at Williamsburg and formed 
a non-importation league. Among the signers of the league 
were George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. 

Thus did the heart of the Old Dominion beat strong with 
sympathy for her sister colony, Massachusetts, then bear- 
ing the heaviest burden of royal oppression. But the four 
years following Patrick Henry's fiery speech were years of 
patient endurance and useless endeavor on the part of 
the Colonies, to be loyal to the Mother Country and to 
the King. 

During this period, Jefferson's time was fully occupied 
with his law practice and he paid little attention to the 
affairs of public life. He was slowly building the mansion 
on the summit of Monticello, when in February, 1770, the 
old farmhouse at Shad well, where he was born and where 
his mother, unmarried sister and young brother still lived, 


caught fire and was burned to the ground. Jefferson was 
at Williamsburg when the fire occured, and as there was 
no fire department in that remote village and few 
persons, except the frightened negroes, to help the family, 
very little was saved from the flames. All Jefferson's 
books and papers were burned, though the old negro 
servant who was sent to tell him of the fire assured him 
that he had "done saved Massa's fiddle." 

Jefferson now moved into the only finished part of his 
mansion, a small building with but one room, which later 
was used as a pavilion or summer-house, and the old 
farmhouse was never rebuilt. 

The building of Monticello now went on as rapidly as 
possible with only dull negro laborers, when all the brick 
and lumber had to be manufactured on the premises. The 
window sashes and glass were brought from London in 
slow sailing vessels, and it is not strange, therefore, that 
it was many years before the house was wholly completed. 

Like its owner's character, it grew year by year, as into 
it he builded his artistic dreams of beauty, his longing for 
thorough steadfastness, his romantic ideals, his love for his 
children and posterity, and a goodl} T share of his fortune. 
All that, Monticello represented to Thomas Jefferson. 

While practicing law in Williamsburg, Thomas Jefferson 
became acquainted with Mrs. Martha Wayles Skelton, the 
widowed daughter of John W T ayles, a prominent lawyer of 


5 ^ 

■t 4 i i vJ <*- 1 n " 5 



|1 Ui<t$ N^-» 


Williamsburg. Mrs. Skelton was a tall, graceful woman, 
a sweet singer and a skilful performer upon the harpsi- 
chord, an old-fashioned instrument somewhat like the 
grand piano used at the present time. The harpsichord 
made a fine accompaniment to the violin, and Jefferson and 
Mrs. Skelton played and sang together whenever they 
met, either at her fathers house or at the homes of their 
mutual friends. 

On New Year's day, 1772, they were married at her 
father's house, and immediately after the wedding dinner 
they started to drive to Monticello. It had been storming 
for several days and nearly two feet of snow had fallen, 
which was very unusual in that state. This fact obliged them 
to travel very slowly, and just at sunset they reached the 
home of a neighbor, eight miles from Monticello. The 
road through the hills was so badly drifted that they were 
obliged to leave their carriage here and finish their jour- 
ney on horseback. 

Slowly making their way along the drifted roads, it took 
them several hours to reach Monticello, where they found 
no one awaiting them. The servants had given up their 
coming- and gone to their cabins ; there was no light, no 
fire and nothing to be found in the pantry to eat, but 
the young couple only laughed over this cool welcome 
to a bridal party, and building up a fire made themselves 
at home, until daylight brought the servants to the house. 


Their married life, although short, was a very happ}' 
one. It is said that Jefferson would accept no office or 
position, however great, that would separate him from his 
wife, and her devotion to her husband was equally great. 
She once said of her husband, who had done a kind act 
for a friend and received an ungrateful return : ''He is so 
good himself that he cannot understand how bad other 
people may be." 

Six children were born to them, five girls and one boy, 
but only two of them, Martha and Marie, lived to grow 
up. About a year after their marriage Mrs. Jefferson's 
father died and she inherited an estate fully as large as 
her husband's. Then, resigning his law practice, Jefferson 
gave his whole attention, for the next two years, to 
farming. He kept a farm book, in which he recorded the 
time when each crop was planted and the date it was har- 
vested. It is said that every kind of tree and shrub that 
would endure a Virginia winter was planted by him upon 
his estate. These were the happiest years of Thomas 
Jefferson's long life. 

His thorough knowledge of law and his ability as a 
writer soon drew Jefferson into public life, while his 
intense patriotism and love of liberty compelled him to 
take an active part in the stirring events that preceded the 
Revolutionary War. He wrote a "Draft of Instructions" 
for the Virginia delegation to the Continental Congress at 


Philadelphia, and in March, 1775, was a member of the 
convention which met in the church at Richmond, to 
decide what Virginia would do in the war which they now 
plainly saw was close at hand. 

It was at this meeting that Patrick Henry made his 
famous speech, "Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace ! — but 
there is no peace. The war has actually begun ! The 
next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our 
ears the clash of resounding arms ! Our brethren are 
already in the field ! Why stand we here idle? What is 
it the gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life 
so dear, peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of 
chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know 
not what course others may take ; but as for me, give me 
liberty, or give me death ! " 

These bold words made a deep impression on Thomas 
Jefferson's mind. He now fully realized the struggle 
before the colonies ; and the next month was heard the 
sound of the guns at Lexington, where the brave "Minute 
Men " faced the British red-coats and the first patriot 
blood stained the soil of the American Colonies. 

Washington, Jefferson, and Patrick Henry were mem- 
bers of the committee appointed to make preparations for 
the coming conflict. On the day Washington received his 
commission as Commander-in-chief of the Continental 
armies, on June 20th, 1775, Jefferson took his seat in 


Congress. A few hours later caine the news of the battle 
of Bunker Hill, and he saw General Washington ride awav 
on his long journey to Boston to take command of the 

Congress had been in session about six weeks when 
Jefferson, the youngest member, took his seat among 
them. He was thirty years old then, and his fame as a 
writer had preceded him. Besides the reputation for a 
masterly pen, he was called the most accomplished gentle- 
man of his day, being proficient in French, Italian and 

Although the sword had already been drawn against the 
mother country, very few of the colonists had as yet 
thought of independence. Justice from the English gov- 
ernment was all they asked for, and they hoped to obtain 
that by force of arms. It was not long, however, before 
they could see that justice would never be theirs while 
they remained colonies of England. 

Jefferson himself had no wish to be free from English 
rule. To one of his Randolph relatives he wrote : "There 
is not in the British Empire a man who more earnestly 
loves a union with Great Britain than I do. But I will 
cease to exist before I yield to a connection on such terms 
as the British Parliament proposes ; and in this I think I 
speak the sentiment of America." 

The year 1776 stands out, clear and strong, in the 


history of the nation ; but it was only the year of effects, 
the causes had been slowly accumulating through many 
previous years. Now Washington had driven the British 
from Boston, and the whole country felt that the time for 
action had come. Thomas Jefferson was not in Congress 
that winter, being kept at Monticello by the illness and 
death of his mother, but he was not idle. He raised 
money and supplies for the war in his own county, and 
wrote many letters and pamphlets urging the necessity of 
taking some decisive step toward freedom. 

He returned to Philadelphia in May, and on the seventh 
of June, Richard Henry Lee, leading delegate from 
Virginia, offered resolutions of Independence. Congress 
deferred the discussion of the resolutions until July, but 
appointed a committee of five to draft the Declaration. 
The five persons chosen were Thomas Jefferson, John 
Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman and Robert R. 
Livingston ; of these men, Thomas Jefferson, as Chair- 
man of the Committee, was selected to write out the 

At a little M'riting desk in the parlor of a small, brick 
building on Market Street, Philadelphia, he sat, while he 
drew up that Declaration of American rights, that Charter 
of American Freedom. After it was written, Adams and 
Franklin made two or three slight changes in the words 
used ; then it was read to the whole committee and by 


them placed before Congress. That little desk is still 
preserved, as are also the first copy of the Declaration 
and the final copy with the signatures of the members of 

On July 1, the debate in Congress commenced. Some 
alterations were made in the copy Jefferson had presented, 
but the greater part was left just as he had written it. 
Then, late in the afternoon of July 4, 1776, while old 
Liberty Bell was ringing out the glad tidings, the thirteen 
colonies, by a unanimous vote, declared themselves free 
and independent. 

John Hancock, President of the Continental Congress, 
stepped from his chair and wrote his name in bold, beau- 
tiful characters at the head of the Declaration, saying as 
he did so: "There! John Bull can read that without 
spectacles." One after another the delegates wrote their 
names after him, and thus the little paper, which changed 
the destiny of the whole Western Hemisphere, was signed. 

On the second of September, 1776, Jefferson resigned 
his seat in the Continental Congress and returned to 
Monticello. He was offered a commission to France, to 
solicit aid against England, but declined, preferring 
to serve his own state. In October, 1776, he took his 
seat in the Virginia House of Delegates and commenced a 
vigorous reform of the state laws. 

He made four great changes : First, the abolition of the 


(Hotel Jefferson, Richmond, Va ) 


Law of Entail (by which all property remained in the 
possession of the family who owned it, and could not be 
conveyed by deed to any one). Second, abolition of the 
Law of Primogeniture, by which all the property owned 
by a man descended to his eldest son, leaving all younger 
children without any interest in their father's estate. 
Third, the restoration of religious freedom. Fourth, the 
establishment of common schools for rich and poor. The 
fourth amendment was defeated and Virginia, like the 
other Southern States, left her poorer population to grow 
up in ignorance. 

Jefferson greatly admired the common school system of 
Massachusetts, and it was a source of sorrow to him all his 
life that his native state was so far behind New England in 
educational advantages. 

Jefferson also prepared a bill, proposing the gradual 
abolition of slavery, as had been done in some of the 
Northern colonies, but this bill drew a storm of opposition 
upon his head. Some good, however, resulted from it, for 
not long after, a law was passed forbidding the importation 
of more slaves into Virginia by land or by sea. Jefferson 
could see, even in that early day, that slavery was a curse 
to the nation, and said : "I tremble for my country when 
I reflect that God is just.'* 

In May, 1777, the first and only son was born to Thomas 
Jefferson and lived only seventeen days. This was a 


great grief to him, for he had already buried one child, 
an infant daughter. 

In 1779, Jefferson was chosen Governor of the State of 
Virginia, Patrick Henry, the first Governor, having served 
three terms. 

This period of Jefferson's life was one of great anxiety, 
suffering and care. The Revolutionary War, with its 
gloomy outlook for the feeble colonies, raged fiercely. 
British armies invaded Virginia, destroying the homes and 
sweeping away the property of the people. Monticello 
was invaded and the family obliged to flee for their lives. 
Elk Hill, the estate of Mrs. Jefferson, was wholly devas- 
tated and the slaves carried away. 

In 1780, Jefferson's term of office expired, and he retired 
to Monticello to devote himself to the care of his wife 
whose health had failed from the effects of those terrible 
days when, to escape the British army, she had fled from 
her home in winter, carrying in her arms an infant child, 
which died soon after from the exposure. 

On the sixth of September, 1782, ten years after 
he had taken his bride to Monticello, a new grave was 
dug in the little home cemetery, under the oaks, and 
.Jefferson laid his dear wife to rest. The horrors of war 
had been too severe for her gentle nature to endure, 
and leaving her husband and three little daughters alone. 
she sought the Land of Peace bevond the grave. Two 


years afterward her youngest daughter was laid beside 

Jefferson never married again. The year after his wife's 
death he spent at Monticello with his motherless little ones 
and the children of his widowed sister, Martha. The 
months of anxious watching beside his sick wife and his 
grief at her death left him broken down in health and 
feeling that he was growing old. 

In November, 1783, Jefferson was again elected to the 
Continental Congress, and was present when General 
Washington resigned his sword and commission as 
Commander-in-Chief of the army. 

Governor Morris had for some time been advocating a 
change in the currency of the colonies, and the adoption of 
the decimal system of notation, with the penny as the unit of 
measure, instead of the British pounds, shillings and pence. 
This was objected to, because dividing the penny would 
make the money of too little value for convenience ; but 
in 1784, Jefferson proposed the dollar as the true unit of 
measure, sub-dividing into dimes, cents and mills, with 
the higher multiple of the ten-dollar gold piece, or eagle. 

While to Governor Morris belongs the honor of first 
suggesting the decimal system, Jefferson could rightfully 
claim to be the "Father of the American Dollar." 

Another important change which Jefferson suggested, 
and afterward completed, was known as the "Ordinance 


of the Northwestern Territory." All that tract of country 
now included in the five great states of Ohio, Indiana, 
Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin, was claimed as Virginian 
territory. On March 1, 1784, the Virginia delegates, 
with Thomas Jefferson at their head, deeded to the "Colo- 
nial Confederacy" all that northwestern territory, with 
the stipulation that not less than three, nor more than 
five, states should be formed out of this magnificent 
addition to the American Commonwealth. Congress 
accepted the deed and appointed a committee, of which 
Jefferson was chairman, to draft laws for the government 
of this new territory, and for that of all other lands which 
might be acquired east of the Mississippi River. 

The report of this committee, drawn up by Jefferson, 
provided that each new state should be admitted on terms 
of equality with the thirteen original colonies, that each 
should have a republican form of government, and that 
slavery should not exist in any new state after the year 

The last clause roused bitter opposition in Congress and 
was struck out of the report. Most of the colonies held 
slaves at that time and were not willing to give up so 
much of their wealth. It would have been well for the 
new government, then just starting, had they heeded 
Jefferson's advice ; but it took seventy years of experience, 
and the loss of millions of lives and untold millions of 


wealth, before the Southern States were convinced of the 
wisdom of Jefferson's arguments. 

In May, 1784, Congress appointed Thomas Jefferson 
minister to France, to join Dr. Franklin and John Adams 
in making commercial treaties with European nations. 
Taking his little daughters with him, he sailed at once and 
remained in Europe for about five years. Although he 
accomplished little in concluding treaties, Jefferson tried 
to make his Ions; residence in foreign lands useful to his 
native country. There was but little manufacturing of 
any kind done in the colonies at that time, and he urged 
the necessity of establishing factories at home, instead of 
importing so much from foreign countries. 

He sent home descriptions of different inventions which 
he saw from time to time. He wrote of the screw- 
propellor just invented in Paris, and also of the Watt 
steam-engine which had just come into use. He tried to 
interest the Southern States in the culture of olives and 
suggested that cotton "might become a precious resource" 
to them. 

Although admiring and wishing to imitate many of the 
industries of Europe, Jefferson was a true American. 
Traveling only taught him greater love for his own 
country. He disliked royalty and aristocratic forms of 
government and believed firmly in the common people. 
He considered America the onlv true home for Americans, 


and thought American children made better citizens if 
educated at home. He said: "It appears to me that an 
American, going to Europe for education, loses in his 
morals, in his health, in his habits and in his happiness." 

His true American spirit refused to honor kings for the 
title they bore. The only nobility he recognized was the 
nobility of mind and character. He once said : " No race 
of kings has ever presented above one man of common 
sense in twenty generations. The best thing they can do 
is to leave things to their ministers. If the kings ever 
meddle it is to do harm." 

Jefferson was in France during the French Revolution. 
He saw the terrible "bread procession" in Paris, the 
famous Swiss Guard at the king's palace, the downfall of 
the Bastile, and he saw Lafayette bravely lead the ill- 
fated king and queen out on the balcony to quiet the 
raoino - mob. But through it all, he remained the calm, 
conscientious representative of a free government, never 
disturbed nor ruffled by the excitement about him. 

On November 23, 1789, he returned to America and 
was once more at home on his own estates. His eldest 
daughter, Martha, was married that winter to a Randolph, a 
distant relative of her grandmother, and soon after her 
wedding Jefferson became the first Secretary of State in 
President Washington's cabinet. 

When Jefferson took his place in Washington's cabinet 


the new Constitution was just in process of being estab- 
lished. Alexander Hamilton, as Secretary of the Treasury, 
was trying to put the credit of the new Government on a 
sure foundation, and all were doing their utmost to 
make the government of the United States the best and 
and most just in the world. Still, our forefathers were 
only human like ourselves and were sometimes mistaken 
in their judgment. 

A Republican form of government was a new experiment ; 
none had ever succeeded for any length of time, and there 
were many who honestly believed that it was impossible 
to have a government "of the people, by the people." 
They believed that no nation could exist without a king 
at its head, whose authority should be undisputed : while 
others just as honestly believed that a nation could be 
governed by laws made and sanctioned by the common 

Both sides were in earnest, both wished only the best 
welfare of their country, won by so many years of war and 
suffering. But this difference of opinion caused many 
earnest arguments and a good deal of hard feeling, just as 
political discussion does today. 

Thomas Jefferson was a firm believer in the rights of 
the common people and in their ability to govern them- 
selves, under laws made by their chosen representatives. 
His arguments won the day, and to-day we are a people 


free to make our own laws, with no "kings, princes, or 
potentates" to rule over us. Jefferson believed in a free 
Democracy, ruled by officers elected by the people, but 
Hamilton, his chief opponent, believed in a Democrac} r 
ruled by a life-long or hereditary ruler. The two men 
could never agree, and appreciating Hamilton's great 
service to the countiy as a financial leader, Jefferson 
resigned his position upon Washington's re-election and 
once more retired to Monticello. 

He was now fifty years old ; his daughters were married 
and with their families gathered around him, so that he 
said his life as a farmer was always the happiest and best. 
He was very fond of children, and during the whole of 
his long life the halls of stately Monticello rang with their 
merry voices, as nieces, nephews, children and grand- 
children found a home and a welcome beneath its hospi- 
table roof. 

In 1796, Washington refused to again accept the nomi- 
nation for President, and John Adams was chosen 
to succeed him. Thomas Jefferson, having the next 
largest number of votes became Vice-President. As 
Vice-President he presided over the Senate with grace 
and dignity, and though differing in politics from President 
Adams, he did his best to help his old friend throughout 
the four years of his administration. 

But the passage of the " Alien " and " Sedition Acts " 


made President Adams very unpopular and, though nom- 
inated by the Federalists for a second term, he lost the 
election, while Thomas Jefferson, the Anti-Federalist or 
Republican nominee, became the third President of the 
United States. At the close of his first term he was 
unanimously re-elected, and thus served his country as its 
President for eight years. 

The administration of President Jefferson is the 
brightest epoch of our national history. During the first 
six years, not a cloud arose to darken the prosperity of the 
people. Simple and unaffected in manner, as he had 
always been, President Jefferson went into office with no 
more parade and display than he would make in riding 
over his Monticello estate. His inaugural address 
delighted his friends and pleased his enemies. Among 
other things he said : " Every difference of opinion is not 
a difference of principle. We have called by different 
names brethren of the same principles. We are all 
Republicans — all Federalists/' * 

In selecting his cabinet Jefferson chose the best men he 

He said the only questions concerning a candidate 
should be : ' c Is he honest? Is he capable? Is he faithful 
to the Constitution ? " 

He abolished a multitude of small offices and strove to 

* Tin- Anti-Federalists were afterwards called Democrats. 


conduct public affairs with the strictest economy. He was 
able to support the government properly, and still devote 
seven million three hundred thousand dollars yearly to 
paying public debts. 

He treated the Western Indians fairly, respecting 
their claims to the land and obtaining it of them by 
purchase. He discouraged all land speculation, and 
the pioneers bought their lands direct from govern- 

But the most brilliant act of his administration was the 
peaceful and honorable acquisition of Louisiana. This 
was purchased from France for the sum of fifteen million 
dollars, and the payment of all private claims against 
France, held by the citizens of the United States. This 
treaty was signed May 3, 1803, and placed the Mississippi 
River under the control of the United States. 

During the last year of President Jefferson's adminis- 
tration trouble arose. France and England had long- 
been at war, and each tried to gain the support of the 
new nation. Finding that we were determined to remain 
neutral, Great Britain began those acts which later led to 
the "War of 1812. American ships were detained in 
foreign ports, their crews seized as English deserters, and 
often their ships and cargoes were lost. 

To prevent these depredations and retaliate for some of 
their injuries to us, the Embargo Act was passed, forbid- 


ding American ships to leave American ports. This act 
created great dissatisfaction and seems to have been the only 
official act of President Jefferson which did not meet with 
the approval of the American people. In 1809, Jefferson's 
second term expired, and he was succeeded by one of his 
warmest of friends, James Madison, by whom the Embargo 
Act was soon repealed 

Jefferson still remained a strong force in American 
politics. He was one of the Makers of America. It has 
been said of him : "If Jefferson was wrong, America is 
wrong; if America is right, Jefferson was right." He 
believed in liberal education, liberal politics, liberal 
religion ; in a free press ; in honesty, in popular rule, in 
government economies ; in no kings, no classes, room for 
the oppressed ; in hostility to monopolies ; in foreign 
friendship without alliances : he was opposed to a great 
standing army and an expensive navy for the support of 
which the people must be taxed ; he had faith in the Union 
and in self-government. 

At Monticello, surrounded by children and grand- 
children, the aged statesman prepared to spend the closing 
years of his long life. lie was sixty-six years old when he 
left the "White House,'* and nearly forty years of his life 
had been given to the service of his country. But he 
was not allowed to remain in seclusion. To his home 
came Presidents and statesmen, seeking advice and counsel 


from the " Sage of Monticello," whose wisdom had been 
ripened by age and experience. 

To President Madison he was a valued friend and 
counselor. President Monroe came to Monticello to 
consult him about that "Monroe doctrine," which still 
makes his name immortal, and of which Jefferson heartily 

His old friend, John Adams, who had been estranged 
from him when Jefferson succeeded him in the Presidency, 
now became reconciled to him, and the two aged states- 
men, though they never met again, wrote long letters to 
each another. 

But the last years of Jefferson's life were especially 
devoted to the cause of education in his own state and 
neighborhood. He greatly admired the common-school 
system of New England and tried to persuade his own 
state to adopt it. He also tried to introduce into Virginia 
the "township governments," and considered the "town- 
meeting " the foundation of good citizenship. But the 
careless, easy-going Southern people could not be roused 
to the necessity of bettering their customs, and in such 
respects they remained many years behind the other 
divisions of the Union. 

Jefferson at last succeeded in establishing the University 
of Virginia at Charlottesville, devoting time, talent, and 
much of his fortune to the carrying out of this, his dearest 


wish. He was far in advance of his day in politics, educa- 
tion and thought, and each succeeding generation will set 
a higher value on the teachings and example of Thomas 

He lived to see his beloved "University" opened in the 
spring of 1825, with a goodly number of students and an 
able corps of professors, most of whom he obtained from 
Europe. He was very old now, and long years of sacri- 
fice and the desolation of two wars had left him deeply 
in debt. Then, in his kindness of heart, he signed a note 
for a large amount to help an old friend. The friend 
failed and the payment of the indebtedness left Jefferson 

But now from all parts of the Union came offers of 
assistance. The country remembered her debt of grati- 
tude to this faithful servant, and a popular subscription 
placed the old statesman beyond immediate want. He was 
greatly pleased with this proof of love and remembrance 
on the part of his countrymen, and the closing days of his 
life were serene and untroubled. 

July 4, 1826, the fiftieth anniversary of the nation's 
freedom, dawned fair and beautiful. Extensive prepara- 
tions were made all over the land for a great celebration 
of this semi-centennial birthday of the United States. 
Thomas Jefferson had been failing in strength for some 
weeks and knew that but few more days were left to him 


on earth. His only wish was that " it might please God 
to let him see the sun rise once more on the day of free- 
dom/' When the morning of the Fourth dawned, the 
friends who stood beside him knew that his hours were 
numbered. Over and over he exclaimed: "Nunc dimittis 
Domine" (Lord now lettest thou thy servant depart in 

When the early rays of sunlight shone into the room 
of the dying man, he lifted his weary head once more 
from the pillow and smiling said, "It is the Fourth of 
July," then quietly, softly, the gentle soul left the worn, 
aged body, and Thomas Jefferson lived only in the hearts 
of his countrymen. 

Far away in New England, his old friend and comrade, 
John Adams, lay also dying. He heard the sound of the 
cannon and the cheers of the multitude as the " Glorious 
Fourth " was welcomed for the fiftieth time, and just as 
the sun was setting, he. too, closed his eyes to this world, 
his last words being, " Thomas Jefferson still survives." 
But he was mistaken. At the rising of the sun Jefferson 
had preceded him into the Spirit World, and the old 
comrades, united through a long life, in death were not 

" They strove in such great rivalry 
Of means, as noblest ends allow, 
And blood was warm — and zeal was hisrh — 


But soon their strife was o'er ; and now 
Their hatred and their love are lost. 
Their envy buried in the dust." 

In the little family cemetery at Monticello, where in 
youth he had sat planning out the future years with his 
friend, and where he had laid that friend in final rest under 
their favorite oak tree ; where mother, sisters, wife and 
children were quietly sleeping, they laid the body of the 
"Sage of Monticello/' marking his grave with a simple 
obelisk bearing this inscription written by himself: 



Author of the Declaration of Independence, 

of THE 

Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom, 


Father of the University of Virginia." 



More than two hundred years ago, in those early days 
of our country's history, which read now like some old 
time romance or fairy tale ; the days of the Mayflower and 
brave Miles Standish, of Captain John Smith and the 
Indian Princess Pocahontas, a list was written in the year 
1623 of the names of all the men, women and children in 
the colony of Virginia. In that list is found the name of 
Captain Isaac Madison, who, with his little company of 
pioneer soldiers, fought many a battle with their savage 
Indian neighbors. 

Thirty years afterward John Madison, a descendant of 
the brave captain, took out a patent for lands lying 
between the York and James Rivers, bounded on the east 
by the waters of Chesapeake Bay. 

Years passed away, and generation after generation of 
Madisons took out patents of land from the English gov- 
ernment and clearing away the forests of Virginia, made 
fertile plantations and became owners of large estates. 
Among these pioneers was one named James Madison, who 
owned a fine estate in Orange County called Montpellier, 
and who, about the year 1749, was married to Miss 



Nellie Conway, the daughter of a wealthy planter, whose 
large estate in King George County was called Port 

In the winter of 1751, Mrs. Nellie Madison made a long 
visit to her old home at Port Conway and there, on the 
16th of March, 1751, her first child was born and named 
for his father, James Madison. As time passed, other 
children came to the home of James and Nellie Madison 
until Montpellier echoed with the merry voices of seven 
children, four sons and three daughters. 

The life of these little children of the South was very 
different from the life of New England boys and girls. 
The boys of Massachusetts and other Eastern States were 
sent to school when very young and most of their time, 
when at home, was employed in doing chores in the winter 
months and in working in the fields during the summer, 
while the girls were early taught to sew and knit, to spin 
and weave and to help in all the household labors. 

But children in the Southern States knew nothing of the 
toil, and very little of the privations and hardships of 
pioneer life. The climate was much warmer and the 
winters not so long and cold as in New England ; the 
fertile soil needed little care to furnish plenty of food, and 
all the work on the plantation and in the house was pel - 
formed by negro slaves. The children grew up, therefore 
with the idea that the} 7 were not only a privileged class, 


but were expected to become rulers of the common people 
and must prepare themselves for such a position. 

This was especially true of the oldest son in a family. 
The law of primogeniture, by which the eldest son inher- 
ited the estates and became the head of the family after 
the death of the father, prevailed in Virginia, and such 
boys grew up with the feeling that much was expected of 

A historian, writing of that time, says: "This had a 
strong effect upon the aspirations and lives of the bright 
boys of that generation, as the roll of the noted men of the 
early days of the Republic plainly show's. It is remark- 
able how many of them were sons of Virginia farmers." 

James Madison was only four years old when the news 
of Braddock's defeat by the French and Indians brought 
terror to the homes of the settlers on the western borders 
of Virginia, and during the two years following that defeat 
the people lived in dread of their savage neighbors. Mont- 
pellier was so near the border that war threatened to reach 
its very doors. Around the fireside and at all neighbor- 
hood gatherings the people talked of nothing else ; and the 
children listened eagerly, half pleased and half afraid, to 
the stories told by negro mammies of Colonel George 
Washington, the brave young hero commanding the Vir- 
ginia riflemen, who were holding back the savage red-skins 
and protecting the settlements from torch and tomahawk. 


To the end of his life James Madison remembered those 
days; and the child's admiration for the hero deepened as 
he grew to manhood into respect, affection and veneration 
for the noble man who was " first in the hearts of his 

There were no schools in Virginia when the father of 
James Madison was a boy, and feeling deeply his own lack 
of education, he was determined that his children should 
have every possible advantage which they could obtain 
from the schools then established. Mrs. Madison's educa- 
tion was much better than her husband's and she tauarht 
her son during the early years of childhood. Like most 
great and good men, James Madison learned his earliest 
lessons at his mother's side and those lessons influenced his 
whole life. When, in after }^ears, he held the highest 
office in the nation his respect and veneration for his 
aged mother was a beautiful example to all American 

While still very young, little James was sent away from 
home to attend a school in King and Queen County kept 
by Mr. Donald Robertson. Here he remained some time 
and, in addition to the English branches, he began the 
study of Greek, Latin, French and Spanish. But his 
parents did not like to have their boy away from them so 
long and so the Rev. Thomas Martin, an Episcopal clergy- 
man, came to live in the Madison home and become the 


private teacher of the young heir and his brothers and 

James now began preparation for college and, influenced 
by his father's ideas of the great importance of a thorough 
education, he devoted his whole time to reading and study, 
neglecting the Ashing, hunting, riding and boating which 
formed the healthy recreations of the young planters of the 
Old Dominion, and which were just as necessary to the 
future welfare of the boy as his books and studies. 

In the adjoining county of Albemarle, and just a pleas- 
ant day's ride from Montpellier, was Shadwell, the home 
of Thomas Jeft'erson who, although eight years older than 
James Madison, was much attached to the bright young 
boy, and whom the latter looked upon as a model of learn- 
ing and wisdom and to whom he came for advice and 
assistance in his studies. Jefferson, however, did not 
always prove a wise counsellor. Strong in mind and body, 
with an iron constitution that seemed never to tire, he 
laid out a course of study for his frail young friend 
which would have taxed his own great strength ; and in 
trying to follow the course laid down for him Madison's 
health began to fail before he went to college. 

In 1769, James Madison was sent to Princeton College, 
New Jersey, with a much better preparation than most 
boys of his day. 

The year 1769 was, perhaps', the beginning of American 


history. It was the year in which the Virginia House of 
Burgesses asserted the exclusive right of the colonies to tax 
themselves, and declared that Massachusetts was oppressed 
and that, moreover, the oppression of one colony, was the 
oppression of all. For this patriotic assertion, (disloyalty, 
the English Governor called it ), the House had been dis- 
solved by the Governor and the members had re-assembled 
in the ballroom of the old Raleigh tavern at Williamsburg, 
where they formed a non-importation league. George 
Washington and Thomas Jefferson were members of that 
House of Burgesses and both signed the league. 

We may be sure that Jefferson, in his long letters to his 
young friend at Princeton College, did not neglect to tell 
him of all these stirring incidents and, although at that 
time New Jersey was the quietest of the English colonies, 
she was afterwards to have more battles fought upon her 
soil in the grand struggle for Liberty than any other state 
except New York . 

At Princeton the young student, fresh from a Southern 
plantation, made the acquaintance of men, both young and 
old, from all the other colonies ; men whose lives had been 
very different from his own, whose ancestors came from 
different countries and whose habits, manners, and prin- 
ciples were new and strange to the young Southerner. But 
he had entered college with good habits, a high purpose, 
and a stainless moral character which he kept pure and 


spotless to the end of his long and busy life. He Avas 
devout and high-minded, a member of the Established 
Church of England and fond of reading theology. 

Had Madison been content to take the regular college 
course of study his capable brain could easily have accom- 
plished the task ; but with the example of Thomas Jefferson 
ever before him, he took up study after study outside the 
regular college course. The result was that, when at the 
end of three years he graduated from Princeton with the 
degree of Bachelor of Arts, his health was nearly ruined. 
But he remained at college another year to take a post- 
graduate course ; then, in 1772, he returned to Montpellier 
and assisted his father in the management of their estate, 
and became the teacher of his younger brothers and sisters. 

The stirring events of that time had roused the interest 
of the students even in the seclusion of Princeton and 
Madison, like all young Americans, resented the oppres- 
sion and tyranny of King George. 

In a letter written to his father in July, 1770, he said: 
" We have no public news but the base conduct of the mer- 
chants of New York, in breaking through their spirited 
resolutions not to import. Their letter to the merchants 
of Philadelphia, requesting their concurrence, was lately 
burned by the students of this place, in the college yard, 
all of them in their black gowns, with the college bell 


Looking back one hundred and thirty years at that 
picture of the college boys of Princeton, wearing their 
black gowns and gathered in the yard, solemnly burning 
the letter their patriotic spirits condemned, we can see 
plainly the love of liberty, the defiance of tyranny and 
oppression which prompted the act, and it would have been 
well for them had King George and his ministers heeded 
the warning. A few years later many of those boys 
exchanged their black gowns for the Continental uniform, 
while the Boston school boys who, the winter before had 
snow-balled the redcoats off their playground, were waiting 
behind the breastworks of Breed's Hill, with leaden bul- 
lets instead of snowballs. 

The four years after James Madison left Princeton 
were years of patient waiting and steady preparation 
on the part of the Colonies for the conflict that all could 
see must come. Younger men were taking an active part 
in their country's service, and the ties which had bound the 
older generations to the "mother-country," had little 
influence with them. 

British oppression still continued. Boston held her 
famous Tea Party and was punished by the passage 
of the Boston Port Bill, which closed the harbors of 
Massachusetts. The Continental Congress met in Phila- 
delphia and committees of safety were appointed in 
the different counties. Among those chosen in Orange 


County, Virginia, were James Madison, Si\, and James 
Madison, Jr. 

Virginia contributed her full share of men and materials 
to the Continental Army at Boston, and furnished the 
Commander-in-Chief. The people in Virginia were also 
kept busy from the beginning to the end of the Revolu- 
tionary War in protecting their frontier settlements from 
the Indians, who, instigated by the British, made frequent 
raids upon the settlers, destroying life and property. 
Madison wrote : " From the best accounts I can obtain from 
our frontiers, the savages are determined on the extirpation 
of the inhabitants and no longer leave them the alternative 
of death or captivity. It is asserted that there is not an 
inhabitant for some hundreds of miles back (which have 
been settled for many years) except those who are in forts, 
or in some military camp. 

The Continental Army was steadily increasing in num- 
bers and improving in training. In speaking of it to a 
friend, James Madison said : " There will by spring, I ex- 
pect, be some thousands of well-trained, high-spirited men, 
ready to meet danger whenever it appears, who are influ- 
enced by no mercenary principles, but bearing their own 
expenses, and having the prospect of no recompense but 
the honor and safety of their country.'' 

Again, when the news of the blow struck at Lexington 
and Concord reached him, he wrote: "It is our opinion that 



the blow struck in the Massachusetts colony is a hostile 
attack on this and every other colony, and a sufficient war- 
rant to use violence and reprisal in all cases in which it 
may be expedient for our security and safety." 

James Madison was now twenty -three years old, so frail 
in body that he could take no active part in the war for 
liberty, but so strong in principles, so fixed in his con- 
victions of duty, so clear in perception of truth, right, and 
sound public policy, that he came to be considered one 
of the wisest statesmen in the legislative councils of his 

The year 1776 brought gloomy prospects for the colo- 
nies. On New Year's Day the people of Virginia learned 
what British tyranny and oppression could do. Already 
the border Indians had been urged to savage warfare by 
British officers; and on January 1, 1776, without any 
provocation, save the desire to teach the colonies what 
the King's vengeance meant, an English fleet bombarded 
and destroyed Norfolk, the largest and richest town in the 
Virginia colony. Five thousand people, innocent of any 
transgression against British authority, were driven from 
their homes in midwinter, their houses burned, their 
property confiscated, and the people of the colony were 
plainly told that all settlements along the coast would 
soon share the same fate. 

The Virginians bitterly resented this outrage and with 


sad hearts prepared to resist British authority and oppres- 
sion. When the April elections took place the people of 
Orange County sent James Madison as their delegate to 
the state convention which was held in May at Williams- 
burg. The burning of Norfolk had prepared the people of 
Virginia for Independence, just as Lexington, Concord and 
Bunker Hill had prepared Massachusetts, and the Williams- 
burg convention, therefore, sent their delegates to Congress 
with instructions to urge an immediate declaration of Inde- 
pendence. At the same time Virginia declared herself an 
independent state. 

James Madison was a member of the committee appointed 
to draft a State Constitution. One of the articles of the 
new constitution proposed by him declared that tf all men 
are entitled to the free and full exercise of their religion ;" 
but this clause was dropped. James Madison, the young- 
est member, made a deep and lasting impression upon the 
older men who made up that convention. Thomas Jeffer- 
son said of him : " Mr. Madison came into the House in 
1776, a new member, and young. In 1777, he became a 
member of the Council of State, and from there went to 

" His discriminating mind and extensive information ren- 
dered him the first of every assembly of which he became a 
member. With these powers was united a pure and spot- 
less virtue which no calumny has ever ventured to assail." 


While Virginia was adopting her constitution and choos- 
ing Patrick Henry first governor of the State, old Liberty 
Bell in Philadelphia rang out the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence, proclaiming Liberty to all the nation. 

Then followed the long years of war, with all its horrors 
and suffering, its anxieties and disappointments. Years 
that tried not only the courage and patience of men but 
their honor and good sense also. Years when wise coun- 
sellors were as necessary as trained soldiers, and when the 
country needed brave statesmen as well as brave generals. 

Among those who were wise statesmen, James Madison 
ranked with the highest, although he lost one election to 
the Legislature of his State by refusing to follow the cus- 
tom of that time and furnish an unlimited supply of liquor 
on election day. He was willing to ask men to vote for 
him, but refused to "treat" any one, saying that "the 
reputation and success of representative government 
depends on the purity of popular elections." But in 
November of the same year he was elected by a large 
majority a member of the Council of State. Madison's 
education had much to do with his election to the Council, 
since no other member understood foreign lano-uao;es and 
there were many letters from European nations to be 
answered, and many foreign military men who sought com- 
missions in the little army of the new republic. 

In 1779, James Madison was chosen as a delegate to 


Congress from Virginia, and on March 26, 1780, he 
arrived at Philadelphia and took his seat. 

He was not quite thirty years old, but he had won the 
confidence of his own state and of the men from other colo- 
nies who conducted the government. The letters written 
to Thomas Jefferson by Madison, at this time, describe 
the many evils and failures of the new o-overnment, and 
show plainly that he was constantly studying, not how to 
increase his own wealth and importance, but how to remedy 
the mistakes, failures and disasters he saw around him. 
The republic was then a new experiment and Madison, 
with other brave, strong men of his day, worked con- 
stantly and faithfully to establish that "government of the 
people, by the people, and for the people," which we 
proudly preserve as our most precious heritage. 

The new republic was greatly in need of money. There 
was none in the Treasuiy — in fact there was no Treasury, 
— and when men were sent to Europe to try to borrow 
money, the first question asked by the shrewd money- 
lenders was : " What security can you give ? How do 
you propose to raise money to pay your national debt ? 
What are your sources of revenue?*' To these questions, 
alas ! there was no answer. Congress now issued Con- 
tinental money, but it was nearly worthless. Thomas 
Jefferson loaned the State of Virginia thirteen thousand 
dollars in gold, and when he received payment in Con- 


tinental currency, the amount just bought him an over- 

The members of Congress were paid a salary by their 
respective states but the money had so little value it would 
not pay their board bills, and James Madison, with the 
others, was often greatly in need of a little money. Their 
country's need, however, was greater than their own and 
they made no complaint. 

It has been said of James Madison that he was never a 
boy. Perhaps his ill health and delicate frame made him 
seem old. Although always cheerful and sociable, he was 
never carried away by fiery enthusiasm like Patrick Henry, 
never so hot-headed and impetuous as John Adams, and 
was more even-tempered and impartial than George Wash- 
ington himself. In those debates in Congress, where so 
many lost their self-control, he was always cool, calm and 
courteous, and this ability to "keep cool," united with, his 
knowledge of foreign laws, his foresight and intelligence, 
made him one of the wisest, most useful men in the Con- 
tinental Congress. 

There were a oreat many laws to be made for the new 
nation. When we think of all the different branches of 
our great system of government, from township officers to 
president, of all the foreign nations with whom we have 
treaties and the necessary laws relating to those treaties, 
' and to our commerce with the whole world, we can form 


some idea of the great task the statesmen of our country 
found before them after the Declaration of Independence. 
Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison 
laid the foundation on which this great structure of civil 
government rests. 

On January 20, 1783, a general treaty of peace was 
sio-ned at Paris, and the United Colonies were left to 
adjust themselves on a new basis — that of Freedom. In 

1784, Madison's term in Congress expired and he returned 
to Montpellier. He was immediately elected to the Vir- 
ginia Assembly, and this time he had no need to solicit 
votes or buy election whiskey. There was no other man 
in the country so competent to till the position and he soon 
became one of the ruling minds in the State Legislature. 
Patient, courteous, but persistent, he made many reforms 
in the laws of the Old Dominion ; and in the autumn of 

1785, the legislature passed an act "for the establishing of 
religious freedom."' Jefferson was the author of this act 
and for several years had urged its passage, but to James 
Madison's untiring zeal was due its final triumph. 

In February, 1785, the college of William and Mary 
conferred the degree of Doctor of Laws upon Madison, and 
during the same year he made a visit to General Washing- 
ton at Mt. Vernon. He also visited New York in company 
with the Marquis La Fayette and with him attended a 
gathering of the Six Nations at Fort Schuyler, New York. 


Later in the year La Fayette, accompanied by General 
Washington, visited Montpellier and the Legislature of 
Virginia at Williamsburg;. 

In 1786, Madison's term in the Virginia Assembly closed 
and he was again elected a delegate to Congress, where he 
took his seat in February. 1787. 

The 14th of May, 1787, had been chosen as the date for 
a Constitutional Convention at Philadelphia. It had 
become necessary to form some kind of a government 
which would bind the states together with a common 
interest or they would soon be at war among themselves. 
James Madison was a delegate to this convention and he 
had given so much study to the subject, that when he 
started for Philadelphia he carried with him a written out- 
line of a constitution. He said afterward that this was 
"the earliest sketch on paper, of a constitutional govern- 
ment for the Union, to be sanctioned by the people. 1 " 

Framing a constitution was slow work. It seemed 
impossible to draw up a paper to which all the delegates 
would agree. But at last the parchment copy was pre- 
pared and one after another the delegates signed it, until 
these final words were written : 

"Done in convention by the unanimous consent of the 
States present, this 17th day of September, in the year of 
our Lord 1787, and of the Independence of the United 
States of America the twelfth." 


The Constitution was then laid before Congress, and 
again James Madison spoke long and often in favor of its 

During that summer a series of papers called the 
"Federalist" was printed in a New York Journal and 
they are still considered standard authority on the 
Constitution. Of these papers Alexander Hamilton wrote 
forty-six, James Madison twenty-nine and John Jay five. 

When the Constitution was ratified by Congress, the 
country was called on to elect a president, and George 
Washington was unanimously chosen the first President of 
the United States, with John Adams as Vice-President. 

James Madison remained in Congress until the spring 
of 1793, when he returned to Montpellier, determined to 
rest for a time. This, however, he was not allowed to do, 
for he was immediately re-elected to the Congress which 
was to meet in Philadelphia in December, 1793. 

A young lawyer named John Todd, living in the city of 
Philadelphia, was married in the year 1790 to a very 
beautiful young girl named Dorothy Payne. Their home 
was a very happy one until in September, 1793, the ter- 
rible yellow fever broke out in the city, and proved so 
fatal that the death-rate reached two hundred in one week. 
John Todd sent his wife and babies to Gray's Ferry for 
safety, but remained in the city himself to look after his 
aged father and mother. They soon sickened and died and 


then John Todd hastened to join his family. But he had 
delayed too long and in the very hour of his arrival at 
Gray's Ferry, he was taken ill and in a few hours died. 
Mrs. Todd and her two children were the next to suffer, 
and the youngest child, a month old baby, died. Mrs. 
Todd and her little son recovered and as soon as the 
danger was over, returned to Philadelphia. 

Mrs. Todd was then twenty-two years old, wealthy, 
beautiful, and so attractive that a lady friend once said to 
her : "Really, Dolly, thou must hide thy face, there are so 
many staring at thee." Dorothy Todd had been brought 
up in the Quaker religion and wore the soft gray dress and 
white cap and kerchief of that sect. 

When James Madison took his seat in Congress in 1793, 
he was forty-three years old, a bachelor and one of the 
best-known and most honored men in the country. Seeing 
pretty Dorothy Todd one day, he asked Aaron Burr to 
introduce him, and there is still preserved a note written 
by Mistress Dorothy to a friend, in which she says : 
" Aaron Burr says that the f great little Madison ' has 
asked to be brought to see me this evening." 

After that evening the " great little Madison " called 
often at the home of pretty Dorothy, and on September 
15th, 1794, they were married and drove in their own Car- 
riage to Montpellier, where they remained until the next 
session of Congress. From that time "Dolly Madison" 


was as well known and as highly honored as her noble 

At the close of President Washington's second adminis- 
tration on March 4th, 1797, James Madison returned once 
more to Montpellier, determined to rest from public life 
and give his time and attention to the care of his large 
estates. But in 1798 he was again elected a member of the 
Virginia Assemby where he remained in office until the 
election of Thomas Jefferson, Third President of the 
United States. 

When President Jefferson made his inaugural address 
on March 4th, 1801, his old friend was not there to 
hear him. The death of his father and the duty of set- 
tling his estates detained him at Montpellier : but when 
Jefferson appointed him Secretary of State he moved his 
family to Washington and took his place as head of the 

The four years which had passed since James Madison 
left Congress in 1799 had brought many changes. Phila- 
delphia was no longer the seat of government ; the new city 
of Washington was now the Capitol of the United States, 
and there the new Secretary of State and his pretty wife 
made their home. President Jefferson's wife had been 
dead many years. Both his daughters were married and 
living in their own homes, and when social events at 
the White House required a lady's presence, President 


Jefferson called the wife of his old friend to assist him, 
and "Dolly Madison " was really the "Lady of the White 
House" during the eight years of President Jefferson's 

Jefferson's first term was one of such peace and pros- 
perity that it has been called the "golden era" of the 
nation. His second election was almost unanimous, but 
during the first year of the term trouble came. 

Great Britain, regretting the loss of her colonies and 
having the strongest navy in the world, determined to pro- 
voke another war with the United States, hoping to win 
back the country she had lost. 

Congress issued protests, and sent statesmen to England 
to negotiate for a new treaty, but believing herself strong 
enough to crush the young nation, England would make 
no promises. 

One da} r the British man-of-war Leopard fired upon the 
American frigate Chesapeake, killing and wounding several 
men. Then her crew, boarding the ship, captured and 
carried aw T ay four American sailors, on the ground that 
they were British subjects. 

The people of the United States were roused by this out- 
rage. President Jefferson summoned a special session of 
Congress and issued a proclamation, forbidding British 
ships of war to remain in American waters, but they paid 
no attention to this proclamation. 


When Congress assembled in 1807 they were not pre- 
pared to declare war, but the Embargo Act was passed, 
closing American ports against foreign vessels and confin- 
ing all American ships to home trade. 

For a while the nation approved of this Act, but it soon 
proved a greater injury to the United States than to Great 
Britain, and Jefferson was urged to repeal it during his 
last year in office. This he refused to do. It was made 
one of the issues in the next Presidential campaign and 
when, in 1808, James Madison was chosen Fourth Presi- 
dent of the United States, he went into office pledged to 
repeal the Embargo and Non-intercourse Acts. 

Almost the first official act of President Madison was the 
repeal of the Embargo, to take effect June 10, 1809, and 
this caused great rejoicing throughout the country. Presi- 
dent Madison also made an agreement with the English 
minister at Washington, by which all ships engaged in 
commerce were to be unmolested. Every one hoped for 
an era of prosperity and many were the thanks and bless- 
ings bestowed on the President. 

All along the Atlantic coast was life and action. Ham- 
mers rang day and night in the dock-yards where silence 
had long reigned and the deserted wharves, where ships 
had long lain idle, rotting at their moorings, echoed with 
the voices of busy men. On the morning of June 10th, 
amid the cheers of men, the booming of cannon and ring- 


ing of bells, more than one thousand ships, with white sails 
spread, floated out to sea. 

But the hope of peace and prosperity was short-lived. 
England refused to ratify the agreement made by her 
minister, and to protect American vessels, President Madi- 
son was obliged to declare the Embargo Act once more in 
force. Then those who had praised him most were the 
first to denounce and blame him, forgetting that he had no 
control over the British Government. 

British outrages continued. France also began to make 
trouble. American property was confiscated or destroyed 
upon the seas. But the stolen dollars did not rouse the 
wrath of the American people as did the kidnapping of 
American sailors. Against this wrong Henry Clay and 
John C. Calhoun spoke with a fiery eloquence that reached 
the heart of the nation. 

President Madison was accused of wishing to preserve 
peace at the expense of the nation's honor, but that charge 
wronged him. He had seen the horror and desolation of 
the Revolutionary war : he knew how small the American 
navy was, how feeble her armies ; he had known the diffi- 
culty of raising money to carry on a war ; he had helped to 
establish the young nation on a firm foundation and he 
dreaded to declare war, and plunge the country he had so 
faithfully served into fresh disasters. He determined, that 
if there must be war, it should be with but one nation at a 


time, and wished to come to some understanding with 
either England or France, or both, if possible. He knew 
also that a great number of the American people were 
opposed to a war with England, and that the only hope of 
success would be in a united effort by the States. 

But the war feeling grew stronger, until a majority of 
the people believed that England should be made to respect 
the American Flag and American citizens, wherever found. 
On June 1, 1812, therefore, President Madison sent a 
message to Congress, recommending a declaration of war. 
Another Presidential election was at hand and Madison was 
a candidate for re-election. He has been accused of declar- 
ing war to obtain a re-election, but the reader of history 
cannot help seeing that a war with Great Britain at that 
time was the only honorable course left to the nation. 

The last administration of President Madison is really a 
history of the War of 1812. Our navy won splendid victo- 
ries upon the water and there was fighting all along our 
borders. History tells the thrilling story of Perry's vic- 
tory on Lake Erie, and of Jackson's victory at New 
Orleans. The British won some victories on land, but the 
little American Navy taught them that England no longer 
"ruled the seas." 

An interesting incident of the war, and one closely con- 
nected with President Madison and his wife, was the burn- 
ing of the city of Washington by the British in 1814. 


War had been going on about two years, when the Brit- 
ish, who had been blockading the harbors of Virginia and 
bombarding towns along the coast, grew bolder and sent 
bodies of soldiers inland, who pillaged and burned the 
towns and killed or captured the inhabitants. Admiral 
Cockburn, who afterward carried the Emperor Napoleon to 
St. Helena, commanded the British fleet in Chesapeake 
Bay and his name became a terror along the Virginia coast. 

It began to be feared that he would sail up the Potomac 
and attack the Capitol, and President Madison consulted 
General Armstrong, the Secretary of War, about defending 
the city. "What!" exclaimed the wise Secretary, "the 
British attack Washington? Pooh, nonsense !" This gave 
the people great confidence, and when a motion to provide 
a larger military force to defend the city was laid before 
Congress, it was quickly voted down. But President 
Madison had lived through one war against Great Britain, 
and he did not feel so confident of safety as the brave 
Secretary of War. He called a meeting of the Cabinet, 
laid the case before them, and insisted that they should 
adopt some plan of defense. 

This they decided to do, but so little did they fear an 
attack from the British that they made no haste to earn- 
out the plan, 

Several thousand British soldiers were now assembled 
on the coast, and on the morning of August 19, 1814, a 


horseman rode rapidly through the valley between the 
Potomac and Patuxent Rivers, shouting wildly : " To arms ! 
to arms ! Cockburn is coming !" James Munroe, Secretary 
of State, had gone out to watch the movements of the 
British and he now sent a message to the President, say- 
ing : "The enemy has advanced six miles along the road 
and our troops are retiring. You had better make prepa- 
rations to leave." 

The Secretary of War still insisted that there was no 
cause for alarm. The American soldiers could defeat and 
drive back the British before they could reach the city ; 
but on August 22, President Madison decided to ride out 
and see for himself how matters stood. 

Mrs. Madison had made arrangements for a state dinner 
party at the White House and she went bravely on with 
the preparations, refusing to be frightened while her hus- 
band remained in the city, but soon after he rode away a 
message came to her from James Monroe saying : 

"The enemy are in full march to Washington. Our 
troops are retiring. Have materials prepared to destroy 
the bridges. You had better remove the records." 

Mrs. Madison at once gave orders to have all the public 
documents and records carried out of the city, and clerks 
and servants worked all day and all night to place them 
beyond the reach of the British. Mrs. Madison herself 
waited anxiously for news of her husband. She knew 


there was danger for him not only from the British, but 
from his own people, who, having first blamed him for 
being too slow to declare war, now blamed him for all 
their misfortune, saying that he had caused the war and 
that it was he who had failed to defend the city. 

Mrs. Madison was urged to leave the city at once since 
the British would undoubtedly destroy it, and she packed all 
her husband's valuable papers in trunks and placed them in 
her carriage ready for flight. Then all night long she 
waited for news of the President. About noon, on August 
24, she heard the booming of cannon, and knew a battle 
was raging not many miles away. 

Two hours later a messenger came riding into the town, 
his face grimed and bleeding, his horse panting and foam- 
covered. " Fly ! Fly !" he shouted, "The enemy are upon 
us!" Close at his heels came men and soldiers running 
and shouting: "Fly! Fly! The British are here!" Then 
the people rushed from their houses and a terrible scene of 
confusion followed. A historian says : 

"Screaming, shouting, jostling, trampling one another 
under foot in their headlong flight, the tumultuous con- 
course of men, women, children and horses rushed toward 
the river, and in a frenzied surging mass, fought their way 
across the Long Bridge, in frantic eagerness to escape 
from the doomed city, and find a refuge among the woods 
and hills of Virginia. " 


In great alarm, Mrs. Madison still awaited the return of 
her husband. Then she determined to save a life-size 
portrait of General Washington which hung in one of the 
rooms of the White House. Directing her servants to 
break the heavy frame with an axe she carefully rolled up 
the portrait. Some friends ran in crying "Fly, fly at 
once, Madam, the British are upon us." "Save this pict- 
ure," she answered, "and if you cannot save it, destroy it. 
Do not let it fall into the hands of the British." 

Then she ran out to her carriage, but stopped to think if 
she had saved everything valuable. The public documents 
and records were safe, but if the British burned the White 
House, was there anything belonging to the government 
that she had neglected to save? Instantly she turned and 
ran back into the house ! The Declaration of Independ- 
ence ! She had forgotten that ! The precious parchment 
was kept in a glass case on a table in one of the rooms. 
Back to that room sped Mistress Dorothy, and breaking 
the glass with her hands, seized the " priceless charter of 
American Freedom," and hastening to her carriage was 
driven away toward Georgetown. Once more she turned 
back, determined to find her husband, and met him just as he 
was leaving the town with some friends. Arranging to meet 
at a tavern about sixteen miles from the city both started on. 

Through the crowd Mrs. Madison's coachman made his 
way, and often she was obliged to get out and walk where 


the road was rough, then the crowd jostled and jeered her. 
saying her husband was the cause of all this trouble. At 
last she took refuge in a farm-house, and the next day 
made her way to the tavern, where the President was wait- 
ing for her. Here an alarm was soon given that the 
British were coming in search of him, and the friends of 
the President hurried him away to a little cabin in the 
forest. Madison was the only President of the United 
States who was ever obliged to leave the Capitol or flee 
from an enemy. 

During this time the British had been busy in the city. 
Admiral Cockburn had expected to take possession of the 
Navy Yard and Arsenal, and capture the military stores ; 
but the Commandant of the Navy Yard obeyed the Presi- 
dent's orders and set fire to them when he saw that they 
would fall into the hands of the British. Disappointed 
and angry, the Admiral commanded his soldiers to set fire 
to the Capitol. When this was done the lawless soldiers 
broke into the White House, ate up the State dinner 
prepared for Dolly Madison's guests, and then set fire to 
the house. Other public buildings were fired, and soon 
the whole city seemed in flames. 

A terrible storm arose, the wind blew a hurricane, and 
the people, watching from their refuge in the Virginia 
hills, saw their beautiful city wrapped in sheets of flame, 
which spread farther and farther, higher and higher, until 


the heavens seemed one vivid glowing vault of fire. Shells 
stored in the arsenal were bursting, powder magazines 
exploding; great walls came crashing down, and then the 
awful storm of thunder, lightning, wind and rain burst 
over the doomed city. 

Satisfied at the result of their work and the destruc- 
tion caused by the storm, the British soldiers stole away in 
the night to their ships, carrying many dead and wounded 
comrades, killed and injured by the falling walls and the 
fury of the storm. 

On the night of August 2t>, Mrs. Madison returned to 
Washington, stopping at the home of her sister, whose 
house had escaped the flames. The next day the President 
joined her but not many days afterward they went to 
Montpellier, where they remained a few weeks, until the 
city buildings were repaired. 

But the loss of the city had one good result. The 
American people ceased to blame the President for the 
war, and eager to avenge the defeat and humiliation, won 
splendid victories at Baltimote and New Orleans, until the 
British, wearied by constant defeat, and greatly harassed 
by the French ( with whom they were also at war ) sought 
peace. The next December the treaty of Ghent was 
signed and peace was once more restored to the American 
nation. American ships could now come and go in 
safety, the nation had proved its ability to defend itself, 


and a common cause had bound the states in a closer union. 
President Madison was now as highly praised as he 
had been severely censured a short time before ; but he 
deserved neither praise nor blame. The causes of war 
were beyond his control, and though a bolder, stronger 
man might have made a better lighter, Madison's wisdom 
and statesmanship may have saved the nation even greater 
loss than resulted from the War of 1812. 

In 1816, James Monroe was chosen President, and after 
his inauguration, March 4, 1817, Mr. and Mrs. Madison 
retired to their home at Montpellier. Mr. Madison was 
now sixty-six years of age, while Mrs. Madison was but 
forty-five. The estate of Montpellier consisted of about 
twenty-five hundred acres of land and one hundred slaves. 
Mrs. Madison was also very wealthy, and they had built 
for themselves a beautiful new home close beside the old 
one. In the old house, where the President was born, his 
aged mother still lived, faithfully tended by the old ser- 
vants, who had been young when she came as a bride to 
Montpellier. Mr. Madison was a devoted son and Mrs. 
Madison proved a model daughter-in-law. The old lad}- 
once said of her: "Dolly is my mother now, and cares 
most tenderly for all my wants." She died when ninety- 
eight years old. 

Ex-President Madison was growing old now, though 
time had dealt kindly by him, and in his beautiful home, 


which looked out across a pleasant valley to the Blue 
Ridge mountains beyond, he lived twenty years. It was 
only thirty miles to Monticello, where Thomas Jefferson 
lived, and the two old friends and ex-presidents often 
visited each other. 

Pretty Mistress Dolly was as charming a hostess in her 
country home as she had been in the White House, and 
many distinguished guests were entertained at Montpellier. 
Lafayette visited them when he came to America in 1825, 
and the house was often filled with kind friends who came 
to pay their respects to the old statesman. 

But old age kept creeping nearer, and at length the 
gentle, patient old man was confined to his house, and then 
rheumatic trouble confined him to his chair for a long time. 
Early in the summer of 1836, his friends saw that he had 
not long to live, but patiently, cheerfully and calmly he 
awaited the coming of death, and on the 28th of June, 
1836, he closed his eyes and passed away so quietly that 
the watching friends did not know when death came. No 
children had ever been born to him and in his home only 
his wife was left to mourn his absence, but to the American 
nation it was as if a father had passed away, and no one 
was ever more sincerely mourned than James Madison. 

A tall white column marks the spot where James Madi- 
son, Fourth President of the United States and Father of 
the American Constitution, quietly rests. 



" A power was his beyond the touch of art 
Or armed strength. It was his mighty heart." 

Although a whole generation already grown to manhood 
and womanhood, many of them with children of their own, 
has been born since that Friday in April, 1865, when 
Abraham Lincoln died from the bullet of an assassin, yet, 
to-day the story of his lonely childhood, his toilsome life, 
his brave struggle for something higher and better, his 
success as a lawyer and a politician, his election to the 
highest office his countrymen could give him, his faithful 
service and earnest patriotism through the long years of 
Civil War, and at last his tragic death just when all he had 
toiled and suffered for seemed won, holds the earnest 
attention, wakens the highest admiration and respect, and 
claims the strongest sympathies of all who read it. 

The life of Abraham Lincoln reads more like the stories 

of ancient Greek and Roman heroes, than like the life of an 



American citizen of the nineteenth century ; but rising far 
above all heroes of any age or nation, — 

" Standing like a tower, 
Our children shall behold his fame, 

The kindly-earnest, brave, foreseeing man, 
Sagacious, patient, dreading praise not blame. 

New birth of our new soil, the first American." 

Born on the twelfth day of February, 1809, Abraham 
Lincoln was a descendant of those hardy pioneers, who 
with no capital but strength and courage, a keen axe and 
an unerring rifle, carved new states from the solid wilder- 
ness, and built a great nation. 

In 1780, the grandfather of Abraham Lincoln, after 
whom President Lincoln was named, moved from Virginia 
to the fertile valleys of Kentucky, to settle near his friend 
and relative, Daniel Boone. Choosing a pleasant location, 
he built a log cabin and for six years worked diligently at 
clearing his new farm, — always with his rifle near at hand, 
for the Kentucky forests were full of Indians, who, hidden 
behind trees or in thickets, watched for an opportunity to 
kill the white man and his helpless family, or to burn and 
destroy their dwellings. 

One morning, while working with his sons near the 
house, a ball from an Indian's rifle pierced his heart, and 
he fell to the ground. The youngest boy, then only seven 


years old, threw his arms around his father, while the 
elder son van to the house for his rifle. Just as the Indian 
sprang forward to kill the little boy, the elder brother 
seized his rifle, and from the door of the cabin shot the 
Indian. The little boy then ran to the house, and the 
Indians were driven away. 

That little boy, who was named Thomas, afterward 
became the father of President Lincoln. 

Soon after the death of her husband, the widow with her 
children moved to a more thickly settled neighborhood in 
Washington County, Kentucky. There her children grew 
up, and Thomas learned the carpenter's trade. 

He was a strong, sinewy young fellow, kind and friendly 
to every one, but with no ambition to succeed in business, 
and too easy-going to become a very good mechanic. On 
the twelfth of June, 1806, while working in the carpenter 
shop of Joseph Hanks, he was married to Nancy Hanks, a 
niece of his employer. 

She was a handsome young woman of twenty-three, 
more ambitious than her indolent husband, and she could 
read and write, which was considered a remarkable accom- 
plishment among the people of that time and place. She 
even taught her husband to write his own name. 

Thomas Lincoln took his wife to a little cabin about 
fourteen feet square, in Elizabethtown ; and the next year a 
little daughter was born, whom thev called Sarah. Shortly 


afterward they moved to a small farm near Hodgensville, 
in what is now La Rue County, Kentucky. The land 
was very poor where they lived, and Thomas Lincoln 
settled down into deeper poverty than he had ever known. 

The house in which they lived was built of logs, with a 
low doorway and with one small, square hole cut through 
the logs by the side of the fire-place for a window. There 
was no glass in the window ; it was left open in summer, 
and when winter came, a piece of deer-skin was fastened 
over it to keep out the cold and storm. At night a bear- 
skin was hung across the doorway, for there was no door 
to shut. There was no ceiling to the little house, but the 
family could look up to the bare rafters and rough roof- 
boards, which Thomas Lincoln had split and hewn. The 
great lire-place and chimney was built of sticks and stones 
plastered with clay and upon one side of it stood a rude 
bench, while two or three rough blocks of wood were the 
only chairs. The floor was the bare ground, smoothed and 
beaten down, until it was as hard as a pavement. The bed 
was a platform of poles, covered with the thick, soft, furry 
skins of animals, and over it was spread a gay patch-work 

To this poor home, upon the twelfth of February, 1809, 
there came a line, strong, baby boy, whom his parents 
named Abraham, after the grandfather who had been 
killed by the Indians. Never a baby hero came to this 


world amid poorer surroundings, or with so little to make 
him comfortable ; and as he hi} 7 upon that rude bed, 
wrapped in soft furs, staring with curious baby eyes at the 
brown rafters overhead, or the firelight flickering upon the 
rough logs, no one could have guessed what a wonderful 
life his was to be. 

Even the young mother who loved him so well, and no 
doubt thought him the best and brightest baby in the 
neighborhood, could never have dreamed that the day 
would come when her baby boy would stand at the head of 
a great nation, and lead three millions of people out of 
bondage into freedom. 

Here in the wilderness, where there were no churches 
and no schools, the boy Abraham lived until he was seven 
3 r ears old ; and he learned all about the great wilderness 
around him. He knew where the first flowers blossomed 
in the spring, where the song-birds built their nests and 
reared their little ones ; he learned to shoot with the rifle 
almost as well as his father, and could use an axe or hoe 
better than many older boys, for he was very large and 
strong for his age. But best and greatest of all, he learned 
how to read and write ; for his handsome young mother, 
although a very busy woman, did not want her children to 
grow up as ignorant as were most of the people around 

People who knew her at that time said she was very neat 


and tidy, and kept her poor little cabin as clean as a palace. 
She spun and wove the wool from their sheep into cloth, 
from which she cut and made clothes for her family ; she 
could use an axe or hoe as well as her husband, and if a 
deer or any other game came near their cabin, she brought 
it down with the rifle as easily as he could do it : and when 
the deer was killed, she could dress it, cook the flesh for 
food, and make clothes from its skin. 

But with all this work to do, she still found time to 
teach her children. As soon as Abraham could under- 
stand what she said to him she began reading stories from 
the Bible to him, and while he was still very small, she 
taught him to read these stories himselt. 

Once a wandering school-master came to their neigh- 
borhood, and taught for a few weeks in an empty cabin 
near Lincoln's home. The young people for miles around 
came to this school, some of them young men grown, but 
little Abraham Lincoln, not yet five years old, could read 
and spell better than any of them. Those were lonely 
years for the little fellow ; no books, no toys, no games, no 
playmates, nothing but the great, solitary wilderness around 
him, and his parents and little sister Sarah for company. 

Not far from the little log cabin where Abraham lived, 
in the shade of a group of evergreen trees, was a clear, 
cold spring gushing from the limestone rock, and from this 
spring a well-beaten path led to the door of the cabin. A 


clear brook ran from the spring and emptied into a creek 
not far from the house. No doubt Abraham and his sister 
spent many happy hours playing beside the brook or in the 
shade of the trees by the spring ; and perhaps their mother 
sometimes sat in the shade with them, and read to them 
the old, old story, how Moses led the children of Israel 
through the wilderness, and how, once, he smote the rock 
with his stati' and just such a clear, pure spring burst forth. 

The stories his mother read to him from the Bible, and 
the lessons she taught him from it, made a deep and lasting 
impression upon the little boy ; and as long as he lived, in 
all the great speeches he made, quotations from the Book 
his mother loved were oftenest upon his lips. 

By the time Abraham was seven years old. a 
settlement had grown up around their home, and people 
began to live more comfortably. But Thomas Lincoln, 
thinking Kentucky was no place for a poor man, and pre- 
ferring the lonely forest to a settled country, determined to 
move his family to Indiana, where he had heard that there 
was plenty of fertile land and, what suited him still better, 
plenty of game for the hunter. So he started out alone to 
see this new country, and traveling afoot through the 
dense forest, at last found a spot which pleased him. 

Returning home, he borrowed two horses, packed his 
wife, children, and all their household goods upon their 
backs, and started. It was a long, tiresome journey for 


the mother and her children, but after many days of travel, 
they at last reached a small settlement, where they bor- 
rowed a wagon, bought some corn meal and bacon for 
food, and then with his axe Thomas Lincoln hewed a road 
through the wilderness to his new farm, a mile and a half 
east of Gentry ville, in a rich and fertile forest country. 

Here, with the help of his wife and children, he soon 
built a temporary shelter, called a " half-faced camp,'' 
leaving the south side open to the weather. In front of 
the open side, a great fire was kept burning, which was 
supposed to warm the interior, but often more cold than 
heat came into this miserable shed. Over the fire a great 
kettle hung from a chain, and in it corn, beans, bacon or 
game was cooked. 

Sometimes wild turkeys, geese or ducks were roasted 
beside the fire, hanging from a stake, one end of which 
was stuck into the ground ; or venison steak was broiled 
upon the coals. And sometimes the mother would cook 
delicious (f corn dodgers " in a bake-kettle beside the fire, 
or the}' would roast potatoes in the hot ashes. 

It was a hard life for the little family ; but they lived a 
whole year in that poor shed, while Thomas Lincoln was 
clearing a little patch of ground for a cornfield, and he wing- 
logs for a better cabin. They moved into the new house 
before it was finished ; there were no doors, no windows or 
floor; but it seemed so comfortable after "the camp," that 



they were satisfied. They had three-legged stools for 
chairs now, instead of blocks of wood, and a great slab of 
wood on four legs made a grand table. The bed was still a 
platform of poles covered with skins, but Abraham climbed 
to the loft by a ladder of wooden pegs driven into the logs, 
and slept on a pile of dry leaves covered with furry skins. 

He was almost nine years old now, and very large and 
strong. He worked at chopping, hoeing, hunting and 
trapping every day. An open glade not far from the 
cabin was full of deer-licks, and sitting there, hidden by 
the bushes, for an hour or two, he was sure to get a shot at 
a fine deer which would furnish meat enough for a week. 

Some relatives from Kentucky now moved near them, 
and occupied the old "camp." and life was not quite so 
lonely as it had been during the first year. But in the 
autumn of 1818, a terrible disease broke out among the 
settlers, called the "Milk sick"; — caused, it was said, by 
some poisonous herb which the cattle ate, and thus 
poisoned the milk. 

In the Lincoln settlement, so ill fed, ill housed and 
uncared for, the terrible disease made its appearance and 
in a few days two of their number were dead ; and on the 
fifth of October, 1818, Nancy Lincoln bade her little ones 
good-by, telling little Abraham to remember what she had 
taught him, and to be a good boy, and good to his father 
and sister. Then, weary and worn with the hardships she 


had endured, she quietly fell asleep never to wake again 
on earth. 

Thomas Lincoln made coffins for his dead out of lumber 
which he cut with a saw from the timber around him, and 
under a great sycamore tree about half a mile from his 
home the neighbors helped him lay them to rest. 

There was no minister to read God's precious promises, 
or to speak words of comfort to the sorrowing family, and 
this grieved Abraham very much. He remembered 
how his mother loved her Bible, and how much she had 
talked to him of its truths and promises, and he deter- 
mined to have a funeral service for her. 

He remembered a traveling minister whom his mother 
had known in Kentucky, named David Elkins, and he 
succeeded, several months later, in sending a message to 
him asking him to come and preach a funeral sermon for 
his mother. 

Slowly the weeks and months passed away ; the trees 
were again green and the wild flowers blossoming in the 
forest, when the preacher came. He had ridden one hun- 
dred miles on horseback, forded swollen rivers, and 
followed narrow paths through the wilderness, to comfort 
this little boy. He had no hope of reward, and only did 
what he thought to be his duty ; he did not dream that the 
day would come when a whole nation would honor him 
because he did his best to comfort a sorrowing child. 


Again the friends and neighbors gathered under the 
great sycamore tree, a funeral sermon was preached, sweet 
hymns sung, and kneeling beside the lowly mound, 
already green with the luxuriant wild grass, the gentle 
preacher prayed the Good Father to comfort and care for 
these motherless children. 

From that time Abraham Lincoln determined to be a 
good and noble man. His mother had taught him truth, 
honesty, and reverence for God, and he never forgot those 
lessons. Years afterward, when he had become a great 
man, honored by all his countrymen, he said ; " All that I 
am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother." 

The year after his mother's death was the saddest in the 
life of Abraham Lincoln. He was ten years old and his 
sister Sarah two years older, and together the children 
tried to keep house as their mother had done ; but the log 
cabin was lonelier, and more cheerless than ever, for the sun- 
shine of mother-love had gone out of it forever. Lying 
upon his bed of leaves in the loft of the little cabin, with 
the stars shining through the crevices between the rough 
boards and logs, and sometimes the snow and rain drifting 
down upon his rude bed, the little boy must have had 
many lonely hours, many sad thoughts. 

But through the day he was never idle. When there' 
was no work to do, he spent his time reading, or trying 
to improve his writing. He borrowed all the books to be 


found in that backwoods settlement, and not only read 
them, but learned most of them by heart. 

Slowly a year passed away without a mother. Then in 
December, 1819, Thomas Lincoln left the two children 
with their cousin, Desmis Hanks, to keep house while he 
went back to Kentucky on a brief visit. In a few weeks 
he returned, driving a four-horse team, and beside him in 
the wagon sat a pleasant looking woman, while upon the 
straw in the bottom of the wagon, sat a boy and two 
little girls. "Abraham and Sarah," said Thomas Lincoln, 
"this is your new mother, and your new brother and 

The new mother spoke very kindly to the two mother- 
less children and when she looked at these poor, forlorn 
little ones with their scanty clothing hanging in rags about 
them and then turned to her own happy, hearty, well- 
clothed children, her heart ached for these neglected ones, 
and tears of pity came into her eyes. 

It was a fortunate day for the Lincoln family when 
Sarah Bush consented to become the wife of Thomas 
Lincoln and a mother to his children. Her honest pride 
and energy inspired her husband to greater industry. 
Door, windows, and floors were at once added to the 
house. She dressed the children in warmer clothing, and 
made comfortable beds for them to sleep in. She brought 
with her six chairs, a table, a bureau, a chest and a feather 


bed and pillows ; luxuries which the Lincoln children had 
never known of. 

Mrs. Lincoln had a great respect for education, and 
whenever a school teacher came that way, she sent all the 
children to school. These schools Avere much alike. 
They were held in deserted cabins, built of round logs, with 
earthern floors, and with small holes cut in the logs and 
covered with greased paper, which answered for windows 
and let in a little light. The teachers were of the same 
quality as the school houses. "Readin, writiir, and 
cypherin' to the Rule of Three," this was the extent of 
their knowledge. 

Abraham learned all he could from such teachers, and 
besides, read everything he could lay hands on. Even an 
old dictionary and the " Revised Statutes of Indiana " he 
read as eagerly as boys of to-day read one of Henty's 
books. He had no slate and no paper to use, his copy 
book being all the paper he owned; but he would sit by 
the great fireplace at night, and cover the wooden shovel 
with problems and essays, using a coal or a charred stick 
for a pencil, then take his jack-knife, shave them off and 
beijin over again . 

It is pitiful to think of this backwoods boy longing for 
an education and eagerly making use of the poorest, rudest 
material that could help him obtain it, when we remember 
that every child to-day can have all the advantages he 


Copyrighted by L. Prang & Co. 


longed for, free of cost. All his school days combined 
would not exceed one year's time, but he studied and read 
every spare moment, and his spare moments were few, for 
he was a large, strong boy, and able to do a man's work 
much sooner than most young boys. 

There were six children in this family, but they all lived 
peaceably together under the gentle rule of the good step- 
mother, and all of them loved and admired their big 
brother "Abe " ; for he was always kind and obliging and 
ready to help everyone. 

Long years after Abraham Lincoln was dead, his step- 
mother said of him : " I can say what scarcely one mother 
in a thousand can say, Abe never gave me a cross word or 
look, and never refused to do anything I asked him. Abe 
was the best boy I ever saw, or expect to see." 

Abraham Lincoln was now a young man, tall, strong, 
very awkward and very homely. But the honest kindli- 
ness of his homely face made it very attractive to those 
who knew him well. His great size and strength, (he was 
now six feet four inches tall,) made him in demand at log 
rollings and house-raisings, while his quaint stories and 
ready wit kept all around him laughing. 

His first venture into the world for himself was made 
the spring after he was twenty-one, when he hired out to a 
Mr. Gentry, to go with his son and take a flat-boat, loaded 
with produce, to New Orleans. The voyage was success- 


ful and Abraham gained great credit for his management 
and sale of the cargo. The next autumn his cousin, John 
Hanks, moved to Illinois and was so well pleased with the 
country, that he sent messages to his friends to come out 
and join him. 

Thomas Lincoln was always ready to move. He there- 
fore sold out all his possessions, and with his wife, his 
sons and their wives, his daughters and their husbands, 
started for the new state ; and in the autumn of 1830, 
with his tall son Abraham walking beside him, he entered 
the state of Illinois, and made that state forever famous as 
the home and final resting place of that tall, awkward son, 

John Hanks had selected a piece of land for them not far 
from his own home, and had logs cut and ready to build a 
house. The men of the family soon had a comfortable log 
house ready to live in, and then Abraham, with the assist- 
ance of John Hanks, plowed fifteen acres for his father, 
and from the tall walnut trees of the surrounding forest 
split rails enough to build a fence around it. 

Little did either of them think of a day that was to come, 
when John Hanks, walking into the State convention, with 
two of those rails over his shoulders, would rouse the en- 
thusiasm of the state, and set the whole country to cheer- 
ing for ff Honest Abe Lincoln, the Illinois rail splitter." 

It is impossible for us, in these da} T s of railroads, 


steamboats, and electricity, to form any idea of life in 
those days when Lincoln was young. There is no place in 
the United States now where new settlers would be 
obliged to depend so wholly upon their own resources, as 
they were in tlje early days of Indiana and Illinois. The 
life of those old pioneers was very hard. Only the strong 
ones lived, and to most of those old age came early and 
was full of pain. Lincoln grew up in the midst of poverty 
and ignorance, but he had what few men of that day pos- 
sessed, — a strong determination to succeed. He did not 
love work, probably, any better than other boys of his 
age, but self-respect kept him from idleness, as it kept him 
from all other vices, and made him a better man every year 
that he lived. 

Again in 1831, Abraham Lincoln made a trip to New 
Orleans in a flat-boat, and for the first time saw negroes 
chained and whipped. He was very sad all the way home, 
and formed his opinion of slavery then and there, and 
never changed it. But he did not know that his great strong 
hand would some da} T loose the chains of slavery forever. 

In 1832, the war with the Indians under Black Hawk 
broke out, and Abraham Lincoln enlisted and was made 
captain of a company of [Mounted Volunteers ; this position 
he held for one month, when the company was mustered 
out. Then Lincoln re-enlisted as a private in another 
company, and served until the closo of the Black Hawk 


War, one month later. He was engaged in no battles and 
never wished to be considered a military hero. Speaking 
of that experience, many years after, he said: "I saw no 
live, fighting Indians, but I had a good man}- struggles 
with the mosquitoes." 

Soon after his return from the war he became a candi- 
date for the Legislature from Sangamon County. He was 
on the Whig ticket, but the Democratic party won the 
election, and Abraham Lincoln was defeated for the first 
and only time by the vote of the people. He was a plain, 
honest, sensible man, and Judge Logan, who afterward 
took him into his law-office, said of him at that election : — 
"He was a very tall, gawky, rough-looking fellow then; 
his pantaloons didn't meet his shoes by six inches. But he 
made a very honest, sensible speech." 

Lincoln now went into partnership with a worthless 
fellow named Berry, and bought a stock of goods. They 
were obliged to give their notes for the goods as they had 
no money. The business did not prosper. Berry died 
from the effects of alcohol, the goods were sold, and Lincoln 
did not receive a cent of money ; it was many years 
before he succeeded in paying off the last of those notes. 

In 1834, when twenty-five years old, he again became a 
candidate for the Legislature, and this time was elected. 
This election may be said to have closed the pioneer 
period of Abraham Lincoln's life. 


He was done with the wild, careless life of the woods- 
man and boat-hand ; there was no more running, jumping, 
and wrestling with the loafing crowd around the grocery 
store, no more odd jobs for daily bread, no more rude, 
squalid poverty. He was still, and for many years con- 
tinued to be a very poor man, but from this time he 
associated with a better class of men than he had ever 
known before, and a new feeling of self-respect, a stronger 
desire for improvement, grew up in his mind. 

He also met in the Legislature, for the first time, 
Stephen A. Douglas, whose name in after years was to be 
so closely connected with his own ; but who now paid little 
attention to the raw, awkward youth from Sangamon 

In 1836, he was re-elected to the Legislature and the 
day before it adjourned, Lincoln and Stone, the two 
Representatives from the Sangamon, entered a protest 
against slavery. At that time to be an Abolitionist was 
considered almost the greatest of crimes, but he did this, 
as he did everything in his life, because he thought it 
right and with no thought of its effect upon his own 

While a member of this Legislature, Lincoln and his 
friends succeeded in having a law passed changing the 
capital of Illinois from Vandal ia to Springfield, as the 
latter town was much nearer the center of the state and 


had greater conveniences for a capital. The people of 
Springfield were so pleased over this that they urged 
Lincoln to make his home there. 

He had been studying law all these years, while keeping 
store and while engaged in politics, and now an old 
lawyer, John T. Stuart, who had a good practice in 
Springfield, offered to take him into partnership. Lincoln 
accepted this offer, moved to Springfield in 1837, and from 
that time this city became his home. 

In 1838, he was sent to the Legislature from his district, 
and again in 1840. That was the year in which General 
William Henry Harrison was elected President of the 
L T nited States. The presidential campaign was one of the 
most exciting ever known in our country. General Harri- 
son had been a poor man, and had lived in a log-cabin. 
His opponents sneered at his poverty, but the Whigs 
gloried in their "log-cabin candidate," and wherever 
political meetings were held, a log cabin was built. Upon 
one side of the door a long-handled gourd was lmn<> - with a 
barrel of cider upon the ground beneath it. Upon the 
other side of the door a coon-skin was nailed upon the 
logs. In every little village stump-speeches were made 
and campaign songs sung. General Harrison had been 
very successful in a campaign against the Indians many 
years before, and at a battle at Tippecanoe creek had 
wholly defeated them. From this victory he won the title 


of "Old Tippecanoe," and the whole country echoed with 
songs and cheers for " Tippecanoe and Tyler too." 

Abraham Lincoln worked with all his energy for General 
Harrison. Remembering his own log-cabin home, and the 
poverty and privation of his boyhood, his heart was full of 
sympathy for the man who could rise above such poor sur- 
roundings. He traveled through the state making stump- 
speeches, and in many places met Stephen A. Douglas in 
public debates. Both these men were so shrewd, so 
eloquent, so well-informed, that those who heard them 
could not decide which was the greater orator. The 
Whigs won the election, General Harrison became presi- 
dent, and Abraham Lincoln returned to his law practice. 

In 1842, when he was thirty-three years old, Abraham 
Lincoln was married to Miss Mary Todd, a young lady 
from Kentucky who was visiting in Springfield. For some 
time after their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln boarded at 
a hotel called the Globe House, but, in 1844, Lincoln built 
a comfortable frame house for himself, in which the family 
lived seventeen years and from which they moved to the 
White House in Washington. 

The next few years of Lincoln's life were much like those 
of any successful lawyer in a new state. He had a large 
practice, but small fees, and his income did not exceed two 
thousand dollars a year. 

In 1837, he was chosen by the people of his district as 


their representative in Congress. He was then thirty-nine 
years old, and the only Whig in Congress from the State 
of Illinois. There were many famous men in that Con- 
gress. Stephen A. Douglas was one of the senators from 
Illinois, Daniel Webster was there, so was John C. Cal- 
houn, and so was Jefferson Davis. Lincoln made several 
speeches during his term of office, but the most important 
thing he did was to introduce a bill for the abolition of the 
slave trade in the City of Washington, which was so bitterly 
opposed that it was never even voted upon. 

Thus the busy years passed by, and meanwhile a dark 
cloud was gathering over the nation. It arose when slaves 
were first brought into Virginia in 1619, and it grew wider 
and darker every year. The wealth and political strength 
of the nation was in the South where, on the great planta- 
tions of cotton, tobacco and sugar-cane, thousands of slaves 
were employed. 

As the wealth of the South increased, they sought new 
lands and broader plantations, and the people of the North 
saw slavery spreading farther every year. Efforts were 
made to limit the slave trade, and the Missouri Com- 
promise, the Kansas-Nebraska Bill, the Dred Scott 
decision were measures adopted to pacify the demands of 
the South for more slave territory, or to limit its extension. 

But all this was of no avail. History will tell you of 
many causes for the ill-feeling which existed between the 


North and South, but all had their origin in the slave 
question. Every election it became the subject of argu- 
ment, debate and dispute, and every year the dissatisfac- 
tion grew. 

Again and again Abraham Lincoln met Stephen A. 
Douglas in debate, and every debate found Lincoln's argu- 
ments for Freedom and Justice stronger and clearer. His 
peculiar power of seizing the most difficult subject and 
presenting it in such simple, homely words as to make its 
truth appear to all men, made him a natural leader of the 
people, and the hard, rude training of his early years had 
but deepened the sympathies of his kindly heart for all 
sorrow and suffering. 

"The uncleared forest, the unbroken soil, 

The iron bark that turns the lumberer's axe, 
The rapid that o'erbears the boatman's toil, 

The prairie hiding the mazed wanderer's tracks. 

"The ambushed Indian, and the prowling bear : — 

Such were the needs that helped his youth to train. 

Rough culture — but such trees large fruit may bear, 

If but their stalks be of the right girth and grain." 

In 1856, a new political party was organized. A party 
calling themselves "Free Soilers," opposed to the extension 
of slavery, had arisen ; these, uniting with most of the 
Whigs and some Democrats, formed the Republican party. 


At a convention held in June, 1856, this party nominated 
John C. Fremont for president, but they were not strong 
enough to elect their candidate, and James Buchanan was 

Abraham Lincoln worked bravely for the new party and 
the debates between him and Stephen A. Douglas were 
listened to by multitudes of people. These debates were 
afterwards printed in a book and people all over the 
country read them. Everyone knew Douglas — he was a 
famous orator — but now everyone was asking, " Who is 
this man, this awkward Westerner, who can silence 
Douglas, the 'Little Giant'?" And the people of Illinois 
answered proudly, "It is honest Abe Lincoln."' So the 
name of " Honest Abe " became as widely known as 
that of the " Little Giant," and people also learned that 
" Honest Abe " was ever the champion of Freedom and 

In 1860, there was another presidential campaign. The 
Democratic party divided and nominated two candidates ; 
the new Republican party nominated Abraham Lincoln, 
and at the November election he was chosen President of 
the United States. He was now fifty-two years old. All 
his life he had worked hard and been burdened with many 
cares, but he now took the hardest work he had ever done, 
the heaviest burden he had ever borne. 

The South was very angry over the election. "The 


black Republicans," they said, " will not only prevent the 
extension of slavery, but they will deprive us of our slaves 
and rob us of our wealth ; " and in the December following, 
South Carolina seceded from the Union and declared 
her right to an independent government. Six other 
states followed her example, and uniting they formed a 
new government, calling themselves "The Confederate 
States of America," and electing Jefferson Davis their 

Some said Abraham Lincoln should never reach Wash- 
ington alive, and a plot was laid to kill him as he passed 
through Baltimore, but taking an earlier train than they 
expected, he reached Washington safely. 

In his Inaugural Address, the fourth of March, 1861, 
President Lincoln said, "In your hands, my dissatisfied 
countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of 
civil war. Your Government will not assail you. You 
can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggres- 
sors. You have no oath registered in heaven to destroy 
the Government, while I shall have the most solemn one to 
protect and defend it." 

The Confederates now demanded that the Government 
give up to them all forts, arsenals and public property 
within their limits ; but this Lincoln refused to do and he 
would not admit their right to withdraw from the Union 
without the consent of all the states. So in April, 1861, 


the Confederate guns were turned upon Fort Sumter, in 
Charleston Harbor, and the awful Civil War began. 

The next four years of President Lincoln's life were 
very hard. The fate of the nation seemed to lie in his 
hands. Around him were the horrors of war, all the 
sadness of death and desolation, all the sorrow and 
agony of those who mourned for the lives sacrificed 
for Freedom and Union. Envious tongues blamed and 
censured him ; treacherous friends sought to betray him ; 
but with the straightforwardness of truth, he passed 
unharmed through all dangers. But the homely, rugged 
face showed new lines of care and sorrow ; the kind 
eyes grew more tender and pitiful, and the great heart 
was often heavy and sad with the burden it carried. 

He was urged to free the slaves, but he hesitated for 
some time, saying that his "first object was to save the 
Union, and neither to save nor destroy slavery. If I could 
save the Union without freeing the slaves, I would do it. 
If I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone, 
I would also do that." 

But at last he saw that the success of the Union Army 
depended on freeing the slaves, as then there would be no 
one to work in the corn and cotton fields, and the army of 
the South would soon be without supplies. So upon the 
first day of January, 1863, President Lincoln proclaimed 
that all slaves in all states or parts of states then in rebel- 


lion against the Union, should be free, and thus did the 
strong hand of an honest man loosen the chains that held 
three million people in bondage. 

But still the war went on. There were great generals 
and brave soldiers on both sides. Each thought their 
cause just and right, and each fought with a courage and 
determination never known in any war before. 

In July, 1863, came the terrible battle of Gettysburg, 
where over fifty thousand brave men, wearing the blue and 
the gray, laid down their lives. After three days of battle 
the Union Army was victorious and from this defeat the 
Confederate cause never recovered. Little by little the 
Northern army now advanced, and it was but a question of 
time until their victory should be complete. 

In November, 1864, Abraham Lincoln was elected 
President for the second time. Still the war went on, but 
now the Union soldiers were everywhere victorious, and 
the end was near. Upon March 4, 1865, President Lincoln 
made his second inaugural address. He made no boast of 
what he had accomplished, nor did he rejoice over the 
defeat of the enemies of the Government ; but in this 
address he said: "With malice toward none, with charity 
toward all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to 
see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in ; 
to bind up the nation's wounds ; to care for him who shall 
have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphans ; 


to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting 
peace among- ourselves and with all nations." 

Five weeks after that address was made, on the ninth 
of April, 1865, General Grant met General Lee at 
Appomatox Court House, the Confederate army surren- 
dered, and after four years of bloodshed, devastation and 
sorrow, the Civil War in the United States was ended. 

Abraham Lincoln's work was finished. The Union was 
saved, the slave was free, and the weary brain that had so 
faithfully watched and so wisely planned, the aching head 
that had throbbed with pain over the sorrows of the Nation, 
could rest and rejoice in the knowledge of a noble work 
well done. 

The fourteenth of April was Good Friday. On the 
evening of that day President Lincoln, with Mrs. Lincoln 
and a party of friends, visited Ford's theatre in Washing- 
ton. A few minutes after ten o'clock, a young man 
entered the box where the President and his party were 
sitting. No one noticed him ; all were watching the actors 
upon the stage. His name was John Wilkes Booth and he 
was a young actor of considerable fame. The President 
was leaning slightly forward, with a smile upon his kindly 
face, when suddenly the young actor stepped forward, 
placed a pistol against the President's head, and fired ; 
then waving the pistol he shouted the motto of the State of 
Virginia, " Sic semper tyrannis" (so perish all tyrants), 


and sprang from the box to the stage. Catching his foot 
in a large flag which had been draped across the President's 
box, he fell heavily upon the stage, breaking his leg by 
the fall. He sprang up again, and escaped to the street, 
where his horse was waiting for him, and rode away into 
the night, only to wander with the stain of murder upon 
his soul, with a price set upon his head, suffering terribly 
with his broken limb, until, after ten days of anxiety, 
hiding daily in some new place, he was hunted down and 
met his death in a burning barn. 

President Lincoln never moved after the assassin's 
bullet struck him. He saw nothing, heard nothing, felt 
nothing. Kind arms lifted and bore him to the house of a 
friend near the theatre. His son was summoned, and with 
Mrs. Lincoln watched beside his bed. Around him gath- 
ered the members of his cabinet — those men who had 
stood beside him and aided him with sympathy and counsel 
during those long, sad years. All through the night he 
breathed, but when the morning came, and when the warm 
southern sunlight shone upon the sorrowing city, a look of 
unspeakable peace and rest came over the worn, tired face, 
and at twenty minutes after seven, on the morning of the 
fifteenth of April, the great, kindly heart ceased to beat 
and Abraham Lincoln was at rest. 

The news of the assassination shocked the whole nation. 
Everywhere business was suspended and the people 


mourned the untimely end of their hero, while from all 
over the world came messages of sorrow and sympathy. 
Then all that was earthly of Abraham Lincoln was tenderly 
borne hack over the same route he had traveled, when in 
1861, he left his humble home in Springfield to take his 
place at the head of the nation. In a beautiful spot in the 
suburbs of the town wdiere most of his life had been spent, 
and where he had risen from the humblest rank in life to 
the highest, his body was laid to rest. In 1S74, a beauti- 
ful monument was erected over his grave. Among the 
words of tribute spoken to his memory that day, General 
Grant said: "To know him personall}' was to love and 
respect him for his great qualities of heart and head. In 
his death the nation lost its greatest hero. In his death 
the South lost its most just friend." 

" So ended in darkness, but not in shame, the career of 
Abraham Lincoln. He was prudent, far-sighted and reso- 
lute ; thoughtful, calm and just ; patient, tender-hearted 
and great. From city to city, in one vast funeral proces- 
sion, the mourning people followed his remains to their 
last resting place at Springfield. From all nations rose 
the voice of sympathy and shame — sympathy for his 
death, shame for the black crime that caused it." 

The newspapers of England had always censured 
Abraham Lincoln. They had caricatured his homely face 


and awkward, ungainly form. They had sneered at his 
lowly origin, and with unkindly words criticised his wisest 
acts. After his death, the London Punch, which had been 
most bitter in its attacks upon him, published the 
following poem, with humble acknowledgement of their 
unjust comments. 


Yon lay a wreath on murdered Lincoln's bier, 
You, who with mocking pencil wont to trace, 

Broad for the self-complacent British sneer, 

His length of shambling limb, his furrowed face, 

His gaunt, gnarled hands, his unkempt, bristling hair, 
His garb uncouth, his bearing ill at ease, 

His lack of all we prize as debonair. 

Of power or will to shine, or art to please ; 

You, whose smart pen backed up the pencil's laugh, 
Judging each step as though the way were plain, 

Reckless, so it could point its paragraph 
Of chiefs perplexity, or people's pain : 

Beside this corpse, that bears for winding-sheet 
The Stars and Stripes he lived to rear anew, 

Between the mourners at his head and feet, 
Say, scurrile jester, is there room for you? 


Yes ; he had lived to shame me from my sneer, 
To lame my pencil, and confute my pen ; 

To make me own this kind of prince's peer, 
This rail-splitter, a true born king of men. 

He went about his work, — such work as few 
Ever had laid on head and heart and hand, — 

As one who knows, where there's a task to do, 
Man's honest will must Heaven's good grace 

So he went forth to battle, on the side 

That he felt clear was Liberty's and Right's, 

As in his peasant boyhood he had plied 

His warfare with rude Nature's thwarting might. 

So he grew up a destined work to do, 

And lived to do it ; four long-suffering years, 

Ill-fate, ill-feeling, ill-report, lived through, 
And then he heard the hisses change to cheers, 

The taunts to tribute, the abuse to praise, 

And took both with the same unwavering mood ; 

Till, as he came on light, from darkling days, 

And seemed to touch the goal from where he stood, 

A felon hand, between the goal and him, 

Reached from behind his back, a trigger prest, 

And those perplexed and patient eyes were dim, 

Those gaunt, long-laboring limbs were laid to rest ! 



The words of mercy were upon his lips, 
Forgiveness in his heart and on his pen, 

When this vile murderer brought swift eclipse 
To thoughts of peace on earth, good will to men. 

The Old World and the New, from sea to sea, 
Utter one voice of sympathy and shame : 

Sore heart, so stopped when it at last beat high ; 
Sad life, cut short just as its triumph came. 




Among all the great men whose names are written upon 
the pages of history, there are very few who said as little, 
and accomplished so much, as Ulysses S. Grant. 

Descendant of a hardy Scotch race, from Aberdeenshire, 
Scotland, he inherited from his ancestors a strong love of 
freedom and the courage and determination to win it at 
any cost. Indeed, his whole life and character seems best 
expressed in the motto of his clan : " Stand fast, stand firm, 
stand sure." His great-grandfather was a Captain in the 
old French and English War, and was killed in battle in 
1756. His grandfather left his farm in Connecticut at the 
first rumor of the Revolution, and appeared on the field of 
Lexington, on that morning in April when the brave 
farmers f ' fired the shot heard round the world." 

At the close of the War of Independence his grand- 
father emigrated to Pennsylvania, and there, in 1794, 
Jesse R. Grant, the father of Ulysses, was born. At an 
early age he was sent to learn the tanner's trade. When 
he became a man, he moved to Point Pleasant, Ohio, and 
commenced business for himself as a tanner. 

Here, in 1821, he was married to Miss Hannah Simpson, 



and here, too, during the first year of their married life, 
their oldest child, Ulysses, was born. Me was christened 
"Hiram Ulysses." His grandfather named him Hiram 
and his grandmother, who 'loved to read history and 
greatly admired the ancient hero Ulysses, gave him the 
latter name. When the boy was old enough to attend 
school, he changed the order of his name, writing it 
"Ulysses Hiram," because the boys and, perhaps, the 
girls also laughed at his initials, H. U. G. 

When Ulysses became a cadet at West Point, the 
Member of Congress who made out his appointment 
wrote his initials U. S. Grant. Grant tried many times 
to have the mistake corrected ; but this is one of the 
few things in which he failed, and to the end of his 
life he bore the initials of his native land, his foster- 
mother, whose military child he became. He therefore 
took his mother's maiden name, and wrote it Ulysses 
Simpson Grant ; but among his chums at the Military 
Academy he was always called " United States Grant,'' 
"Uncle Sam Grant" or plain " Sam Grant." 

Like most great men, Ulysses Grant had an excellent 
mother. She was a pious, cheerful, contented woman ; 
caring little for the outside world, but devoted to her 
children and looking well after the ways of her household. 
Under her loving care Ulysses grew up strong and healthy, 
brave, truthful and self-reliant. 


Although never a very brilliant scholar, yet he was not 
at all stupid. He was simply a quiet, well-behaved, every- 
day sort of boy, who attended school during the winter 
months, learning his lessons well and always ready for 
play also. He never liked working in the tannery with 
his father and used to say that he would be a farmer or 
a trader down the river, but a tanner he would never be. 
Had any one told him then that, at some future day, great 
masses of men all over the country would be proudly 
marching to music, carrying torch-lights, wearing leather 
aprons, and calling themselves "Tanners" in honor of 
U. S. Grant, the tanner's son, he would have thought it 
a wild dream. 

While Ulysses was still a small boy, he was noted for 
his perseverance. If he undertook a thing, he would not 
give up for small difficulties, but kept trying until he suc- 
ceeded in accomplishing his purpose. 

He was very fond of horses and learned to ride and 
drive when very young. The story is told of him, that 
when only seven years old he harnessed a colt to a small 
sled, and drew brush from the woods until he had a pile 
nearly as large as the house. When only ten years old, 
he used to drive a span of horses from Georgetown, where 
his father lived, to Cincinnati, forty miles away, and 
bring back a load of passengers. 

If a circus or a show came to the town, and there was 


a call for some boy to come forward and ride a pony, 
Ulysses was always ready ; and whatever he undertook to 
ride, he always succeeded in doing it. Once a circus came 
to his town, in which there was a very mischievous pony, 
trained to run swiftly round and round the rin^ and 
throw oft' the boy who tried to ride him. " Will any boy 
come forward and ride this pony?" shouted the ring- 
master. Ulysses immediately stepped forward, mounted 
the pony, and away they went. Bound and round and 
round the ring they flew, faster and faster ran the pony, 
making every effort to throw his rider ; but Ulysses sat 
as steadily as if he had grown to the pony's back. 
Presently out came a large monkey and sprang up behind 
the boy. Then how the people laughed and cheered, but 
all this made no difference to the small rider. Then the 
ring-master made the monkey jump up on Ulysses' 
shoulders and hold on to his hair, while the pony ran 
faster and faster. The people cheered and shouted, yet 
the boy never smiled nor trembled, but sat as steadily as 
though carved in stone. At last the pony began to grow 
tired, and the ring-master gave up the attempt. He had 
found one boy whom the pony and monkey combined 
could not throw. 

When Ulysses was twelve years old his father sent him 
to a neighbor's house to make a bargain for a horse he 
wished to purchase. "Now, Ulysses," said his father, "you 


may tell Mr. Ralston that I have sent you to buy the horse 
and that I will give him fifty dollars for it. If he will not 
take that, you may offer him fifty-five and I should be 
willing to go as high as sixty rather than not get the horse." 

As soon as Ulysses reached the house and began to talk 
of buying the horse, Mr. Ralston asked: "How much did 
your father say you might pay for the horse?" The boy 
did not know how to prevaricate and answered honestly : 
"Father told me to offer you fifty dollars at first; if that 
would not do, to give you fifty-five, and that he would be 
willing to give sixty rather than not have the horse." Of 
course Mr. Ralston said then that he could not think of 
taking less than sixty dollars for the horse. "I am sorry 
for that," said Ulysses, " for on looking at the horse I have 
decided not to give over fifty for it, although father did 
say I might give sixty ; you may take fifty dollars if you 
like, or you may keep the horse." Mr. Ralston took the 
fifty dollars and Ulysses rode the horse home. 

Mr. Grant had a great deal of confidence in his son's 
ability to do business and to take care of himself. When 
he was only twelve years old his father wished to obtain 
some legal papers from Louisville, Kentucky, to be used 
in a lawsuit in which he was engaged. He had written to 
lawyers there but could not get the business done, nor 
could he leave home at that time to attend to it himself. 
"I can do it for you, father," said Ulysses. So his father 


sent him on the errand alone. It was a long journey for 
a child, but he returned with the necessary papers, with- 
out "accident. 

It is said that "the child is father of the man," and the 
same courage and self-reliance which enabled the twelve 
year old boy to take such a journey and accomplish such a 
matter successfully, in later years enabled him to command 
great armies and to stand at the head of a great nation. 

Meanwhile Ulysses was very anxious to obtain a good 
education. He wished to go to college, but his father, 
who was not a rich man, was not able to gratify his wish 
since he had several younger children to care for and 
educate. But the boy was not easily discouraged. He 
thought very earnestly about the matter, and at last 
decided to try for an appointment to West Point Mili- 
tary Academy. If he succeeded, he would be cared for, 
educated, and receive, besides, a small sum of money 
which would more than pay all his other expenses as a 
student. In the year 1839, his father secured for him, 
through the influence of the Member of Congress from their 
district, an appointment as a cadet at West Point. 


To be a West Point cadet was considered a great honor 
sixty years ago. It meant a good education and an honor- 
able position under the Government afterwards. It was 


also supposed that only the most brilliant and talented 
young men of the United States were sent there ; and 
there is a story told in Georgetown, where the Grant 
family were living at the time, that the news of Ulysses 
Grant's appointment was a great surprise to their neigh- 
bors. One man, meeting Jesse Grant on the street, said : 
"I hear Ulysses is appointed to West Point. Is that so?"' 
'Yes, sir.*' "Well, that's a nice job. Why didn't they 
appoint a boy that would be a credit to the district?'' It 
would be interesting to know what that neighbor thought, 
when later years proved how much credit "that boy" was 
to the district. 

Ulysses Grant was at that time, a quiet, home-loving boy 
who cared nothing for a military life. The stories of his 
grandfather's battles and marches had little interest for 
him. He cared more for horses than for guns, and far 
more for the circus that occasionally came to town, than 
for "training day," or "general muster" of the country 
militia. He was a strong, healthy boy, fond of out-door 
play, skating, boating, ball-playing, and especially horse- 
back-riding. He was not ashamed to help about the 
house, either, and at one place where he boarded while 
attending the village Academy he taught the cook how to 
make buckwheat cakes, and took his turn at baking them 
for breakfast. 

Into this quiet home life came the appointment to West 


Point. It was a beautiful day in May, when, with his 
home-made clothes packed in a new trunk, with the initials 
U. H. G. in big brass tacks on the cover, he bade good- 
bye to home and old friends and started on his journey. 
The initials on the new trunk had been H. U. G. at first, 
but when Ulysses saw them he said: "I will not have 
them like that ; they spell hug, and all the boys will laugh 
at them." So the order was changed. Then the boy 
went from home into the world. 

It was a long journey from Georgetown to West Point 
in those days ; first by boat to Pittsburg, then by stage 
and canal to Philadelphia, and thence by steamboat to 
West Point. The first year of a cadet's life at AVest Point 
is usually a very unpleasant one ; but Grant was such a 
quiet, obliging boy and so small of his age, that the boys 
were ashamed to tease and annoy him as they did some of 
the new-comers. When Ulysses arrived and reported to 
the adjutant, he paid his entrance charges — forty-eight 
dollars — out of money he had earned by driving a team 
and by doing work upon the farm. He was very proud 
of this fact and it was something a boy of seventeen might 
well be proud of; for most boys of that age find it hard 
to save money, even if they earn it. 

Ulysses was now sent to the Quartermaster to receive 
his outfit, two blankets, a pillow, water pail, broom, chair, 
etc., and he was required to carry all these articles to 


his room, strung on the handle of the broom. Past the 
officers' quarters he marched, past the crowd of howling 
cadets, while every one of them sang out "Hello plebe, 
how do you like it?" Then he was taught just how and 
where to place all these things, for there is a certain place 
for everything in a cadet's room, and if he leaves any 
thing out of place, a row of " black marks" is sure to stand 
opposite his name. Perfect neatness, perfect order, and 
punctuality are iron-clad rules at West Point. Ulysses 
was rather a slow boy and sometimes received "black 
marks" for being late ; " late at church," "late at parade," 
"late at drill" are some of the marks against him, on the 
old record at West Point. But there are no black marks 
for bad conduct; and if the boy was sometimes "slow" 
at school, the man was never "slow" in winning great 
victories or driving back an invading army. 

He was a good boy here as he had been at home. " It 
was impossible to quarrel with Grant," said one who 
roomed with him for a year, "we never had a spat, I 
never knew him to light." He thoroughly enjoyed the 
beautiful scenery around West Point, and wrote often to 
his friends about the places he had seen. To one cousin 
he wrote : "I have put away my Algebra and French, and 
am going to tell you about this prettiest of all places, 
West Point. It is the place of all places for an institution 
like this. Here is the house Washington used to live in, 


there Kosciusko used to walk up and down, thinking of 
his country and ours ; over the river is the house of Arnold, 
that base and heartless traitor to his country and his God. 
I do love the place. It seems as though I could live here 
forever if my friends would only come, too. I mean to 
study hard and stay if it be possible. I have now been 
here four months, and have not seen a single familiar face, 
or spoken to a single lady. I wish some of the pretty 
girls of Bethel were here, just so I might look at them ; — 
but I have seen great men, plenty of them, General Scott, 
Mr. Van Buren, Washington Irving, and lots of other big 
folks. If I were to come home now you would laugh at 
my appearance. My coat must always be buttoned up to 
my chin. It is made of sheeps-gray cloth, covered with big 
round buttons. If you were to see me at a distance, the 
first question you would ask, would be, f Is that a fish or 
an animal?' Remember me to Grandmother Simpson; I 
think often of her. I want you to show her this letter, 
and all others I may write you." 

These simple home messages show us the heart of the 
boy; and the man was very like him. Home, wife, 
children and friends ; these were dearer to him than fame 
and the applause of the world. He never wished to be a 
soldier. His ambition was to be a professor of Mathe- 
matics in some college, with salary enough to make a 
little home for wife and babies of his own. 


Ulysses remained two years at school and then went 
home on a furlough. How proud his father and mother 
were of their tall, straight soldier boy. His father gave 
him a fine colt to ride, and every day he rode over to 
Georgetown to see the boys and ffirls whom he had 
known before going to West Point. And how all the 
old neighbors talked about him. The\ 7 admitted that he 
"might make a decent mark for muskets, after all." So 
in riding and walking with the girls and playing games 
with the boys, the furlough passed quickly, and the boy 
returned to school and study. He was homesick for 
awhile and the routine of cadet life seemed dull and slow 
after the gay vacation ; but this feeling soon wore oft' and 
school life again interested him. 

Of this life an old cadet once said : " It had its beautiful 
side. The shaven green of the lawn, the gleam of white 
tents, the crash of horn and cymbals, the clamor and 
squeal of drum and fife, the boom of the sunset gun, the 
rumble and jar of wheeling artillery, all these sounds and 
pictures came to be keen pleasures, to divide and brighten 
the dull gray hours of hard study. Every morning in 
autumn, while the maples turned from green to scarlet 
and gold, the cavalry wheeled over the parade ground. 
The call of the bugles, the thrilling commands, the reel 
of the horses, the splendid voices of the commanders, 
the drumming of hoofs, the swift swing into perfect 


alignment, all these things helped him forget his home- 

At our cavalry drill, riding his powerful chestnut horse 
"York," the slender young Cadet Grant galloped swiftly 
down the long riding-hall. At the farther end he turned 
at the riding master's command, and came into the straight 
stretch across which the leaping-bar had been placed higher 
than a man's head. The great horse increased his pace and 
measured his strides for the great leap before him, then 
bounded into the air and cleared the bar, carrying his rider 
as if man and beast were one. This great leap, it is said, 
has never been surpassed ; but when questioned about it, 
General Grant would smile and say: " Yes, York was a 
wonderfully good horse." Others thought Ulysses Grant 
was a wonderfully good rider. 

Thus the four years passed swiftly and now came the 
final examination and then the commissions which made 
the young cadets officers in the Regular Army of the 
United States. More, than a hundred had entered the 
class with Ulysses Grant, but one by one they had 
dropped out until only thirty-nine remained. Ulysses 
Grant graduated twenty-first on the list, with a good 
average record as a student and a very high record as a 
man. Of the other members of the class, fifteen served 
with him through the Civil War, four gave up their lives 
in the war with Mexico, and six joined the Confederate 


Army : but of" them all, Ulysses Grant rose highest in 
military rank, was best known to the world and received 
the highest honors. 


Now at length school life, with its hours of work and 
study and its hours of boyish pranks and fun, was past; 
the days of summer encampments and sham battles with 
a company of classmates, of storming imaginary forts, 
and building mimic fortifications ; all the old duties and 
pleasures were to be left behind, and life — real, earnest 
life — began. 

Uncle Sam had educated and trained his adopted sons 
in the art of war, and now they were to put into practical 
every-day use, the lessons they had learned. On leaving 
West Point Ulysses Grant was made a second lieutenant 
in the 4th U. S. Infantry and stationed on the Missouri 
frontier, where the Indians were then disturbing the 
settlers. Here he remained two years, and in 1845 was 
ordered to Texas where the United States troops were 
gathering under General Taylor for the war with Mexico. 

For two years Lieutenant Grant served in the Mexican 
war. He was made Regimental Quartermaster, a respon- 
sible and important position, and this office he held during 
the war. Now, it is customary for the Quartermaster of 
a regiment to remain behind with the supply trains during 


a battle, but it was quite impossible for Quartermaster 
Grant to do that. If there was a battle he was sure to be 
in it ; leaving his supply trains in care of some one else, 
he would join his regiment and share the fighting. 

At the battle of Molino del liey, fought September 8th, 
1847, Grant fought so bravely and with such gallantry 
that he was made first lieutenant, his commission to date 
from the day of the battle. In the fierce battle of Chapul- 
tepec, on the 13th of September, when that frowning castle 
was stormed by the American soldiers, Lieutenant Grant 
won the admiration of his superior officers by his bravery 
and the wisdom of his tactics while under the enemy's fire. 
Several officers spoke of- his "brave fighting,"" his "distin- 
guished gallantry," and "noble conduct" during this, the 
last great battle of the Mexican war, and he was rewarded 
by receiving the rank of Captain. 

After peace was declared, in 1848, Captain Grant was 
ordered to New York with his company and during this 
year he was married to Miss Julia Dent, the sister of 
one of his classmates at West Point. 

A few days after peace was declared with Mexico, a 
great event occurred. Gold was discovered in California, 
and early in 1849 crowds of emigrants rushed to the new 
land, to make their fortune. Many reckless, lawless men 
were among them, and the Indians, provoked by the usual 
injustice of the white man, retaliated savagely. This 


made it necessary to send more U. S. troops to the West, 
and the battalion to which Captain Grant's company was 
attached was sent to Fort Dallas, Oregon. Here he 
remained two years ; then, finding: that lite in a garrison 
in that lonely, almost uninhabited region offered few 
opportunities of usefulness, he decided to resign his com- 
mission. This he did on July 31st, 1854, and returning 
to his home and family, commenced life as a private citizen 
on a small farm near St. Louis. 

In the year 1859, he moved to Galena, Illinois, and 
went into partnership with his brother in the leather trade, 
where they soon built up a prosperous business. Here, 
with his little family around him, he spent the quietest 
and, perhaps, the happiest years of his eventful life. 


The autumn of 1860 and the winter of 1861 were times 
of trial and anxiety to the American Nation. The 
Southern States became dissatisfied with the General 
Government and declared their right to secede from the 
Union and establish a separate government. Many causes 
had led to this act, which was bitterly opposed by the 
North; but by February 1st, 1861, six states had with- 
drawn from the Union, and on February 4th delegates 
from these states met at Montgomery, Alabama, and 
formed a new Government under the name of "The 


Confederate States of America." Fort Sumter, near 
Charleston, South Carolina, refused to surrender to the 
Confederate authorities, and upon the morning of April 
11th, 1861, the first gun of the Civil War was fired from 
Confederate batteries at this fort. For thirty-six hours 
the terrible bombardment continued, and only when the 
fort was in ruins and on fire, did Major Anderson and 
his brave little band surrender. 

Ulysses Grant was quietly living in Galena, engaged in 
business, when the news of that terrible 12th of April 
flashed over the wires, and the sound of that first battle 
at Fort Sumter echoed to the farthest boundary of the 
Union, rousing every earnest, loyal soul to action. Grant 
felt the dishonor to his country, the insult to his flag, in 
the utmost depths of his heart, and his brave spirit 
responded quickly to the Nation's cry for assistance. To 
a friend he said : " The Government educated me for the 
Arm}'. What I am, I owe to my country, I have served 
her through one war, and live or die, I will serve her 
through this." He at once offered his services to the 
Governor of Illinois ; but the quiet, unassuming man, 
dressed in common citizen's clothes, received little notice 
among the eager throng seeking for position and fame. 
Never pushing himself into notice, never boasting of what 
he had done or could do, he waited patiently, ready to 
serve in the humblest position where duty placed him. 


At last his ability and worth were recognized, and he was 
• made Adjutant-General of the State. Soon after this, he 
was chosen Colonel of an Illinois regiment, at once accepted 
the position, and quickly made his regiment one of the 
best in the Volunteer service. On the 31st of July, 1861, 
he was placed in command of a body of troops in Missouri, 
and one month later was promoted to the rank of Brigadier- 
General and placed in command of an important post at 
Cairo, Illinois. 

In politics General Grant had always been a Democrat. 
When the war broke out, he wrote a letter to his father-in- 
law, also a Democrat, in which he says : "Now is the time 
for men to prove their love of country. All party distinc- 
tions should be lost sight of, and every true patriot be for 
maintaining the integrity of the glorious old Stars and 
Stripes, the Constitution, and the Union. I have just 
received a letter from Fred (Frederick Dent, his brother- 
in-law), he is for the old flag as long as there is a Union 
of two States lighting under its banner, and when they 
dissolve, he will go it alone." These words show General 
Grant's devotion to his country, and his determination to 
serve her to the best of his ability in this, her hour of peril. 

Kentucky had not seceded, but there were many of her 
inhabitants whose sympathies were with the South, and 
the Confederate Army had several important positions in 
the southern part of the state. From his post at Cairo 



General Grant was sent to drive the Confederate troops 
from Kentucky. This he proceeded to do at once, captur- 
ing Fort Henry on the Tennessee River, and soon, after. 
Fort Donaldson on the Cumberland. The capture of Fort 
Donaldson was the first decided victory of the Union 
Army. General Buckner, the Confederate Commander, 
sent General Grant a message, asking that a commission 
be appointed to arrange the terms of capitulation. To 
this proposal General Grant replied : 

"General S. B. Buckxer, 

Yours of this date proposing an armistice, 
and appointment of commissioners to settle terms of capit- 
ulation just received. No terms other than an immediate 
and unconditional surrender can be accepted. I propose 
to move immediately upon your works. 

U. S. Grant, Brig.-Gen., U. S. A." 

It is needless to say that General Grant's terms were 
accepted, and the surrrender was tr immediate and uncon- 
ditional." This victory won for General Grant the name, 
" Unconditional Surrender Grant," a title which he proved 
his right to hold manv times before the war ended. 

After the capture of Fort Donaldson, General Grant 
was again promoted. He was now Major-General of 
Volunteers, and did not remain idle because he had now 
new laurels, Slowly but surely he drove the Confederate 
Army southward. Battle after battle he fought, some- 


times winning, sometimes driven back, but always regain- 
ing lost ground and slowly advancing. Pittsburg: Landing, 
Shiloh, Iuka and Corinth ! Victories bravely won ; ground 
hallowed by the graves of thousands of brave men who 
gave their lives willingly for the old Flag and the Union. 
And others just as brave were fighting earnestly at the 
call of their native States. 

"Under the sod and dew, 
Waiting the Judgment Day, 
Under the one, the Bine, 
Under the other, the Gray. 

After these victories General Grant moved toward Vicks- 
burg. All the skill of the Confederacy had been emplo} r ed 
to make this their Gibraltar. Three times the Federals 
had endeavored to capture this stronghold, and three times 
they had failed. After capturing New Orleans, brave old 
Commodore Farragut had steamed up the river with his 
gunboats, intending to storm this citadel, but was obliged 
to sail back again without accomplishing anything ; yet as 
long as the Confederacy controlled the lower Mississippi 
there was little hope of conquering them. Their Generals 
and Statesmen saw the importance of holding Vicksburg as 
plainly as the Federals saw the necessity of capturing it, 
and strengthened their fortification accordingly ; but early 
in 18(33, General Grant determined that since it could 
not be captured by river or by land alone, he would 


combine the two modes of attack and try what could be 

History will tell you of that wonderful advance to Vicks- 
burg. In stormy weather, over terrible roads, through low 
wet land, marching night and day, fording rivers and build- 
ins bridges, closer and closer the great Army drew its lines 
around the doomed city. Fighting every day, camping in 
wet, fever-haunted swamps, often unable to obtain food, 
the troops never uttered a word of complaint. Sherman, 
Logan, McPherson and Blair, brave generals, commanding 
divisions of that brave army, on and on they came, until, 
at the end of eighteen days, during which they had marched 
two hundred miles, fought five battles, taken six thousand 
five hundred prisoners, killed and wounded as many more, 
captured twenty-seven cannon and sixt}*-one pieces of 
artillery, the great city with its garrison was surrounded, 
all supplies shut out, and the siege begun. 

For forty-six days there was one continual roar of can- 
non from Porter's gunboats upon the river and Grant's 
batteries upon the land. Mines were dug under the forts, 
under one of the most important points over two thousand 
pounds of powder were placed, and on June 25th this 
mine was exploded. The result was terrible ! Dust, dirt, 
smoke, cannon, stockades, timbers, logs, even human 
bodies rose hundreds of feet into the air, as if tin own from 
a volcano ; and then everv gun on land and river threw 


shells and cannon balls into the shattered city. The 
inhabitants lived in cellars and caves dug in the banks of 
the stream to escape the terrible storm of shot and shell 
that destroyed their dwellings. 

Day after day the Union soldiers pressed closer, although 
rank after rank was swept away by the Confederate guns ; 
and on the morning of July 3rd, the forty-sixth day of the 
siege, General Pemberton, the Confederate Commander, 
asked that a commission be appointed to arrange terms of 
capitulation, as he wished to stop any further effusion of 
blood. General Grant replied : "The 'effusion of blood' 
you propose stopping can be ended at any time by an 
unconditional surrender of the city and garrison. I do not 
favor appointing a commission to arrange terms, because I 
have no other terms than these." 

General Pemberton immediately accepted the inevitable, 
and on the morning of July 4th, 1863, Vicksburg with 
over thirty thousand soldiers and all its munitions of 
war, surrendered to the Federal army, and once more 
"Unconditional Surrender" Grant had won a brilliant 

Hitherto General Grant had ranked as Major-General of 
the Volunteer Army ; he was now made Major-General of 
the Regular Army of the United States and placed in com- 
mand of the Military Division of the Mississippi, comprising 
three departments, the Ohio, the Cumberland and the 


Tennessee, and containing over two hundred thousand 

Down in eastern Tennessee, one of the Confederate 
strongholds, General Thomas with the half-starved army 
of the Cumberland was tenaciously holding Chattanooga, 
though surrounded by the Southern armies. On October 
19th General Grant telegraphed to him : " Hold Chatta- 
nooga at all hazards ; I will be there as soon as possible.'' 
Back over the wires flashed this brave answer from noble 
old General Thomas : "I will hold the town till we starve." 
And all this time his army was on half rations, three 
thousand men sick in the hospitals, ten thousand mules and 
horses dead of starvation, and not ammunition enough in 
the whole camp to fight another battle. 

On the night of October 23rd, cold, tired and hungry, 
unable to walk without a crutch, for his hip had been badly 
injured in a run-away, General Grant rode up to General 
Thomas's tent. The next morning the two rode out 
and looked over the ground ; General Grant laid his plans 
and telegraphed his orders here, there, everywhere, 
and in six days, food, clothing, blankets and shoes were 
supplied to the hungry soldiers. He found them ragged, 
hungry, despondent, but he soon had them well-fed and 
clothed while his presence made them courageous and 
hopeful ; now he was prepared to drive the Confederates 
from Tennessee and rescue General Burnside, who was 


shut up in Knoxville with another half-starved division of 
the Federal army. 

General Badeau, in his Military History of General 
Grant, says: "The continent shook with the tramp of 
approaching armies. Through the great mountain ranges, 
and by the side of the rushing streams ; along the desolated 
corn-fields and amid the startled recesses of the primeval 
forests, the bustle and the stir of war were rife. Two hun- 
dred thousand soldiers were concentrating from the East and 
from the West for this one battlefield, and over all these 
preparations, all these armies, the spirit of one man was 
dominant." At last all was in readiness, and the fighting 
began. Oh, those days of battle at Lookout Mountain and 
Missionary Ridge ! Who that lived through the long, 
dark years of Civil War can forget the wild exultant thrill 
caused by the news of that "battle above the clouds." 
Who, today, can read of it in history without sharing that 
feeling ? 

One night, the peaceful camp fires flashing from ridge to 
ridge ; the next, the booming of cannon answering to can- 
non, from Orchard Knob to Missionary Ridge, from Mis- 
sionary Ridge to Lookout Mountain, and everywhere the 
dull red light of battle, the tramp of countless feet ! Then, 
when the light of the second morning shone, far above the 
blood-stained battle grounds, above the smoke and vapor of 
conflict, from the summit of Lookout Mountain the Stars 


and Stripes floated in the early sunshine, and General 
Grant had won another victory. Dividing his army, he 
sent one part of it to follow the retreating Confederates and 
drive them into Georgia, while other detachments were 
sent to release General Burnside who was shut up in the 
entrenchments at Knoxville by General Longstreet. But 
Longstreet did not wait for the arrival of the Union 
soldiers. Hearing of the victory at Chattanooga, and 
seeing no way of escape, should the Union forces once 
surround him, he withdrew with his whole army eastward 
into Virginia, and the war in Tennessee was ended. 

On the 26th of February, 1864, Congress passed a bill 
reviving the grade of Lieutenant- General, and on March 
2nd President Lincoln appointed General Grant to this 
position. But two men had ever held this title. In 1798 
President Adams appointed George Washington " Lieuten- 
ant of the Armies of the United States," and in 1855 
General Winfield Scot had the same honor conferred upon 

General Grant wrote to General Sherman telling him of 
this appointment and in his letter he said : " While I am 
being eminently successful in this war, in at least gaining 
the confidence of the public, no one feels more than I how 
much of this success is due to the energy and skill of those 
whom it has been my good fortune to have occupying 
subordinate positions under me. There are many officers 


to whom these remarks are applicable, but I want to 
express my thanks to you and McPherson, as the men to 
whom above all others, I feel indebted for whatever I have 
had of success." 

In his reply to this letter, General Sherman said : " You 
are now Washington's legitimate successor, and occupy a 
position of almost dangerous elevation ; but if you can con- 
tinue as heretofore to be yourself, — simple, honest and 
unpretending, you will enjoy through life the respect and 
love of friends, and the homage of millions of human beings, 
who will award you a large share in securing to them and 
their descendants a government of law and stability." 
These letters show the simple, honest character of the man 
who now stood at the head of the American army. He 
felt no pride, except that which every true man feels in 
work well done and duty faithfully performed. He 
made no claim to greater merit than those who were 
associated with him, and cared nothing for popularity and 

In January, after the victory at Chattanooga, he was 
called to St. Louis by the serious illness of his eldest son. 
No one knew of his arrival until, after several hours, some 
one saw on the hotel register the name, " U. S. Grant, 
Chattanooga." The news spread rapidly ; he was invited 
to a banquet, bands serenaded him, the hotel was sur- 
rounded by people anxious to catch sight of the hero of 


the Western Army. When he appeared upon the balcony 
he was received with cheer after cheer. Removing his hat 
he said : " Gentlemen, I thank you for this honor. I cannot 
make a speech. It is something I never have done, and 
never intend to do, and I beg you to excuse me." He was 
indeed a man of deeds, not of words. 


Now great events crowded swiftly one upon another. 
General Sherman, with his division, turned southward, 
burned Atlanta, and started on his famous "March to the 
Sea," destroying everything along his path. Brave Ad- 
miral Farragut held the city of Mobile, and wherever the 
Stars and Stripes led, victory followed. General Grant, 
leaving Sherman, McPherson and Thomas to conduct the 
war in the South and West, took command of the Army 
of the Potomac and prepared to carry war into Vir- 
ginia. On the 3rd of May, 1864, the great army started, 
and the battle of Spottsylvania, with its awful record of 
death, soon followed. Then came the seven days' battle of 
the Wilderness, every foot of ground gained by fierce fight- 
ing- gained and held — there was no retreating — for the 
brave commander had said : f ' I propose to tight it out on 
this line if it takes all summer." 

Never discouraged, he followed up each fierce, desperate 
battle by another even fiercer and more desperate, until on 


the night of May 20th, by a movement unequaled in the 
history of warfare, the great army turned to the left and 
took up its final march, "On to Richmond." Of the battles 
that followed, Cold Harbor, Bethesda Church, the Rapidan, 
Weldon Railroad, and many others, history will tell you. 
The summer was one continual battle and thousands upon 
thousands of brave men laid down their lives upon those 
awful battle-fields ; but slowly and surely the great army 
drew its strong lines about Petersburg, the strongest 
defense of the Confederate capital, Richmond. Every day 
the siege continued, until the army went into winter 
quarters and Grant made preparations for the spring- 
campaign, which, it was hoped, would speedily terminate 
the war. 

On December 25th, 18 64, General Sherman sent his 
famous telegram to President Lincoln, presenting to him as 
a Christmas gift the city of Savannah, with its guns, 
ammunition and twenty-five thousand bales of cotton. 

When he had destroyed everything that could aid the 
South, Sherman turned northward toward Virginia sweep- 
ing everything before him. At Petersburg the fighting 
still went on. Again and again General Grant threw 
his powerful army against the Southern entrenchments, 
every day advancing a little farther until, on the 4th of 
April, 1865, Petersburg and Richmond were evacuated and 
the Union Army took possession. The strife lasted but a 


few days longer. On April 9th, 1865, the two great com- 
manders met in the parlor of William McLean's house, at 
Appomatox Court House, and General Lee surrendered the 
Confederate Army of Northern Virginia to General Grant. 
On the 26th of April General Johnston's army in North 
Carolina surrendered to General Sherman, and on May 26th 
the Southern Army west of the Mississippi, under General 
Kirby Smith, surrendered to Major-General Canby. Thus 
the great Civil War was ended. 

On the 2nd of June, General Grant took leave of the 
great armies which hud been guided by his genius to such 
splendid victories. In as few words as possible he bade 
them farewell, and spoke in glowing words of their patriot- 
ism, bravery and endurance, adding tender words of 
remembrance for the many brave ones left sleeping in the 
Sunny South. 

General Grant was now the idol of his country. 
Gifts and honors without number were showered upon 
him ; but all this adulation did not change him from 
the quiet, unpretentious man who had entered the Union 
Army as a Colonel of Volunteers. He now hoped for a 
few years' rest but his country still needed his services. 
In July of 1866, Congress created the grade of " General 
of the Army of the United States," and General Grant was 
appointed to that position. 

The duties of Commander-in-Chief, in reorganizing the 


army and reducing it to the number required for the 
Regular Service, kept him busily employed during the next 
two years. 


On May 21st, 1868, the Republican Convention met 
at Chicago and nominated General Ulysses S. Grant for 
President of the United States, and in the following 
November he was elected to that office by a large majority. 
In 1872, he was re-elected by a still larger majority, and 
thus for eight years he served his country as President, 
standing at the head of a great nation, and striving to do 
what was best for his country and its people. The eight 
years of his administration was a period of great anxiety 
and disturbance for the Government, and many important 
events occured. 

The Central Pacific Railroad was completed, the South- 
ern States were re-admitted to the Union ; the Fifteenth 
Amendment, giving the right to vote to the colored people 
of the South, was adopted ; the great Chicago fire left one 
hundred thousand people homeless, and consumed two 
hundred million dollars worth of property ; the war with 
the Sioux Indians broke out in which General Custer and 
his brave band of soldiers were killed ; these are a few of 
the notable events of General Grant's administration. 
Through all the trials and anxieties of his position, with its 


honors and its burdens, its praises, and its criticisms he 
remained the same quiet, unpretending- man, faithfully dis- 
charging the duties of his office, just as he had done when 
a cadet at West Point and while serving through the 
War. On March 4th, 1877, General Grant vacated the 
White House and Eutherford B. Hayes succeeded him as 
President. He had won the love and admiration of his 
countrymen by his loyalty, patriotism and ability as a 
Commander ; he retained it by exhibiting the same noble 
qualities while President. 


General Grant's great lieutenants in the war, Sherman, 
Sheridan and Farragut, had all visited Europe and enjoyed 
a well earned vacation after the hardships of war. But to 
General Grant such rest was denied. His country required 
his services, and he cheerfully gave up the vacation and 
rest that he had looked forward to, put aside all his private 
plans, resigned his position as Commander-in-Chief of the 
Army, and for eight years stood at the head of the nation, 
tilling the office of President to the best of his ability. 
Now his official duties were completed : he was once more 
Ulysses S. Grant, a private citizen of the United States, 
and could take the rest he had longed for. On the 
17th of May, 1877, accompanied by his wife and his son 
Jesse, and with the hearty good wishes of his countrymen, 


he sailed from Philadelphia for Europe and over two years 
passed before he returned to his native land. 

This journey was a memorable one. Through all the 
countries of Europe and the principal countries of Asia, 
General Grant and his party travelled. Kings and queens, 
emperors and princes united with the common people of 
all nations to do honor to this plain, unpretending citizen 
of the United States, this simple dealer in leather, but a 
man whose honesty, loyalty, energy and faithfulness, had 
made him equal, or far superior to those whose only 
claim to greatness was the rank and title descended to 
them from some remote ancestor. Their position was 
inherited ; his came to him as the reward of duty well 

General Grant received many rare, curious and beautiful 
gifts from the rulers and people of the countries which he 
visited ; and many strange entertainments and wonderful 
banquets were prepared in his honor. It is said that at the 
dinner given by the Emperor of Japan in honor of General 
and Mrs. Grant, the bill of fare was composed of over fifty 
courses, the first seven of which were soups, one of them 
made of skylarks, buckwheat and eggplant. General 
Grant remained in Japan over two months, then on the 3rd 
of September, 1879, he took passage oa the steamer Tokio, 
bound from Yokohama to San Francisco. On September 
20th the ship sailed through the Golden Gate into the har- 


bor of San Francisco and General Grant again stood upon 
his native soil. 

His country gave him a royal welcome. In every city 
through which he passed on his way to Galena — his old 
home — banners waved, bands played, bells rang and the 
people welcomed home with hearty cheers, the hero of the 
Nation. Such proof of the love and gratitude of his 
countrymen must have been very precious to the hearts of 
the General and his family. When they reached Galena 
many old friends met them and escorted them to their 
home, and the long journey was ended. No man had ever 
travelled so far and been received with such honor; for 
wherever he went his fame had preceded him, and that is 
something no man had ever experienced before, and per- 
haps no one will ever do so again. Few men will ever be 
as widely known and as thoroughly respected as General 
Ulysses S. Grant, the quiet, modest man, who had said 
half in jest and half in earnest, that he had no greater 
ambition when the war closed than to return to Galena, and 
be the alderman from his ward. 

He had now returned to his own fireside, content to spend 
the rest of his days in the enjoyment of home and friends. 
But this could not be. Fame is not all happiness, and the 
man who is famous has many enemies and many false 
friends who seek his friendship for personal gain. General 
Grant found many such. Political and financial schemers 


sought to have his name connected with their plans. 
The Republican party, fearing defeat, urged him to 
accept the Presidential nomination and, against his better 
judgment, he at last consented to do so ; but at the 
Convention General Garfield received the nomination, and 
with quiet dignity, General Grant accepted the decision 
and generously did all in his power to help Garfield's 

Many of his old friends had left Galena and, in 1883, 
General Grant and his family removed to New York, where 
his sons entered the banking business. General Grant 
became a special partner of the firm, and for a time all 
went well. But in May, 1884, through the dishonesty of the 
manager, the bank closed, and General Grant w T as finan- 
cially ruined. No suspicion of dishonesty was attached to 
General Grant or his sons ; they were ruined by the dis- 
honorable man they had trusted and they immediately gave 
up all their property to meet the indebtedness of the 


Throughout all General Grant's military life, through all 
the cares and anxieties incident to the office of President, 
through his two years of travel in foreign lands and differ- 
ent climates, he had scarcely known a day's illness ; but 
upon Christmas Eve, 1883, w T hile returning from the 


house of u friend, lie slipped upon the icy pavement and 
fell heavily. His hip was seriously injured and from this 
injury he never fully recovered. For a time he seemed to 
grow stronger, but after the failure of the bank in 1884, 
his health began to fail and ho never was a well man 

During the summer of 1884, the publishers of the 
Century requested General Grant to write several articles 
for their magazine, describing the battles he had won. 
For these articles he was well paid and the brave old 
soldier took heart once more. Here was a way to earn his 
own living. He need not feel dependent upon the kind- 
ness of friends, nor the gratitude of the nation. In October 
of 1884, it became known that General Grant was suffering 
from a throat trouble, and soon the whole country knew 
that the physicians had little hope of his recovery. But 
the soldierly spirit was strong within him, and still he 
fought bravely for life. He had commenced writing his 
memoirs and, although confined to his home during the 
winter of 1885, he wrote several hours daily upon this 
story of his life, which he hoped would bring him money 
enough to place his family above want after he was 

Every day his grandchildren visited him, three pretty, 
merry, loving little ones, who came like sunshine into the 
sick man's room and brightened his saddest hours. His 


only daughter, Mrs. Sartoris, came from her home in Eng- 
land and remained with him while he lived. Old friends 
gathered about him. The brave old commander who, on 
the battlefield and in the President's chair, had led 
his country through conflict and peril to victory, honor 
and safety, was once more first in the hearts of ail 
his countrymen. A bill placing him upon the retired 
list of the army, after several defeats, was at last 
passed on the 4th of March, 1885. But all these kind 
deeds, these honors, these acts of restitution, came too 

General Grant had now but one intense desire. He 
wished to live long enough to finish his "Personal Memoirs," 
not for his own fame, but to provide a competence for his 
family. One who knows him well said: '' Since he had 
known that his personal honor was as clean, his military 
fame as brilliant in the eyes of men as they had ever been, 
he determined that his reputation for sense and shrewdness 
should also be regained. He would not die without regain- 
ing a fortune equal to that which had been taken from him 
by fraud. No man should say that, after all, General Grant 
had left his children penniless." 

So the brave fight, the race with the Conqueror, Death, 
went on. At last the book was finished, his work w T as done, 
and upon the 23rd of July, 1885, the brave old General 
met Death, who now dictated to him those Terms of 


Capitulation, that he had so often dictated to others: 
" Unconditional Surrender." 

With the whole world watching beside him, with the 
hearts of his countrymen throbbing with grief for his 
suffering and their loss, with his loved wife and precious 
children around him, he surrendered his life as calmly and 
quietly as he had done all great deeds, and received his 
last promotion, passing into the rank and company of the 
great Heroes and Statesmen gone before him. 

Upon Saturday, August 8th, bells were tolled and 
memorial services held all over the United States during 
the hour of his funeral. More than fifty thousand people 
marched in that funeral procession, one of the greatest 
processions the world ever saw. The coffin was carried to 
the temporary vault in Riverside Park, New York, over- 
looking the beautiful Hudson river, and here, surrounded 
by thousands of old comrades and by those he had loved 
best and dearest, the final farewell words were spoken. His 
little grand-daughter Julia laid a wreath of flowers upon 
the casket, the bugle sounded "Taps,"* and the doors of 
the vault were closed and locked upon all that remained to 
earth of one of America's greatest Heroes. 

Immediately after the funeral of General Grant a monu- 
ment committee was organized and in 1897, as a result of 
their labors, a magnificent mausoleum was completed not 

* " Lights out." 


far from the temporary vault. This was dedicated on April 
27th, 1897, the anniversary of his birth ; and to the vault in 
the centre of the building his casket was removed. Here in 
time will also rest the body of Mrs. Grant, for it was his 
wish that, wherever his body was placed, she might rest 
beside him. Rising two hundred and eighty feet above the 
Hudson river, it is a noble monument to a noble man. 
The builders of the monument have inscribed in the most 
conspicuous place upon its front this most characteristic of 
his savings : ff Let us have Peace." 

No. L /3 V Sect._ ___ SheH _Z 

Lincoln National Life Foundation 
Collateral Lincoln Library 

1LH.003 3<t- MVtl